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UPDATED March 30, 2015
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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.
Healthy feet topic of talk
Local podiatrists, Christopher Bowlin, DPM and Dr. David Harrison, DPM will be speaking on Tuesday, April 14th at 6:00 PM at Clinton Physical Therapy Center. The public is invited to attend this free and informative talk, “Happy Feet – How to Keep Your Feet Healthy”. Light refreshments will be available. Dr. Bowlin and Dr. Harrison provide comprehensive foot and ankle care at Tennova Foot and Ankle at 129 Frank L. Diggs Road in Clinton. Their goal is to help patients achieve a better quality of life through evidence-based medicine and advanced surgical techniques including minimally invasive surgery, deformity correction and diabetic foot care with the focus on diabetic limb salvage. They also perform sports related injury repairs.
Come learn about ways you can keep your feet healthy. Please call 457-1649 for more information. The seminar will be held in the upper building behind Clinton Physical Therapy Center. Please park in the upper lot.
AC Chamber to hold Job fair April 30th
The Anderson County Chamber of Commerce will host a Job Fair to recruit employees for our local businesses and industries on Thursday, April 30, 3 – 7 p.m., New Hope Center, 602 Scarboro Rd., Oak Ridge. This one-day event allows job seekers to connect face-to-face with local businesses and industries seeking employees.
Job Fair exhibitors to date include: Eagle Bend Manufacturing, Express Personnel Professionals, MAG-USA, SL Tennessee, Temp Systems, Inc., Tennessee College of Applied Technology-Knoxville, and Y-12 National Security Complex.
Attendees may be able to submit resumes, complete applications, schedule interviews and make contacts for future job openings. Free admission and free parking.
Space is available for employers seeking employees. An 8 x 8 space with 6 ft. table, 2 chairs will be provided. Rooms will be available for on-the-spot interviews. Early Registration: Chamber Members - $100, Non-Chamber Members -$150. After April 1 Registration: Chamber Members $150, Non-Chamber Members - $200. ($50 may be applied to Chamber membership).
Main Street Oak Ridge update
(Information from Oak Ridge Today) The developers who want to convert the former Oak Ridge Mall into Main Street Oak Ridge signed their first anchor store lease last week, and three to five more leases could be signed in the next month or so according to officials with Crosland Southeast, the North Carolina-based company that has proposed the redevelopment. Main Street Oak Ridge would turn the nearly-vacant mall in to a mixed-use project expected to include retailers, restaurants, residential units, and possibly a hotel. The existing space between the two remaining anchors, Belk and JCPenney, would be demolished, although those two stores would remain. Main Street Oak Ridge could include three anchors in addition to Belk and JCPenney, although the new retailers will probably be in smaller spaces than the two existing stores. The Oak Ridge Municipal Planning Commission unanimously recommended a rezoning for Main Street Oak Ridge on Thursday, and members also unanimously recommended a planned unit development, or PUD, master plan for the project. The rezoning and PUD master plan will be considered by the Oak Ridge City Council on first and second reading in April, with the first meeting scheduled for April 13. Crosland Southeast hopes to close on the property this summer, begin demolition and construction at about the same time, and have Main Street Oak Ridge open in the fall of 2016.
Oops! OR business locked down over days-old news report
(Oak Ridge Today) The Oak Ridge Police Department responded to a Jackson Square office that had been locked down on Thursday morning because of reports of an active shooter, but officers could find no signs of one, a press release said.
The office lockdown was reported at about 11:10 a.m. Thursday, March 26, at the Jacobs Engineering offices on Broadway Avenue. The ORPD received several calls that the offices were locked because of an active shooter, the release said.
“Officers spoke with Jacobs management at the location, then checked the office complex to verify that all employees were safe and sound,” the City of Oak Ridge said in the release. “It was discovered that approximately 25 minutes before the call was received, Jacobs management had notified employees by email that lobby doors would be locked because of an ‘active shooter’ in the Oak Ridge area.”
The message included a link to a local news report concerning a suspect wanted for a shooting that occurred in Oak Ridge on Monday, March 23. The news report was based on a press release issued by Oak Ridge Police.
GSMNP’s Newfound Gap Road to be repaved
(GSMNP) Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced that a project to repave 4.3 miles of Newfound Gap Road will begin on April 13. This work is part of a multi-phased rehabilitation project started in 2007. The section to be resurfaced extends from Sugarlands Visitor Center south to Chimney’s Picnic Area where the last phase ended. This section of road was last repaved in the 1980s and is badly deteriorated. In addition to the repaving, several drainage culverts will be replaced and two retaining walls will be constructed near the Carlos Campbell Overlook. The contractor will temporarily shift the road to the west by 2 to 3 feet to accommodate a drill rig used for setting the structural parts of the retaining wall near the pullout just north of the main Carlos Campbell Overlook. This lower pullout will be closed for approximately two months while the retaining wall is being constructed, but the main, upper overlook will remain open. “The scenic drive along Newfound Gap Road is enjoyed by millions of people each year and we are pleased to have this opportunity to improve road conditions,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash. “We have made every effort to minimize the inconvenience to park visitors traveling along the road to reach both park destinations and our gateway communities. The contract includes a variety of work restrictions selected to minimize lane closures during the busiest periods.” The work will be performed under a $ 14.4 million contract with Estes Brothers Construction of Jonesville, VA and will be administered by the Federal Highway Administration’s Eastern Federal Lands Highway Division. Funding is provided to the NPS through the Federal Lands Transportation Program to support this work. Motorists should expect delays due to lane closures through June 15. There will not be any daytime lane closures from June 15 through August 15, but nighttime lane closures may occur throughout the project. After August 15, daytime lane closures will again be allowed through September 30. No work of any kind will be permitted on federal holidays or during the month of October. Daytime lane closures will resume from November 1 through December 17. For the most current road closure information, please follow SmokiesRoadsNPS on Twitter or call 865-436-1200 x 631.
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.
Second rescheduled Clinton court date March 31st
Due to last month’s inclement winter weather, two days of Clinton City Court were cancelled. One of those missed dates was made up earlier this month, and the cases that had been scheduled for February 24th have been rescheduled for Tuesday March 31st at 8 am.
WATE: Man arrested…for 69th time!
A Campbell County man was arrested last month for the 69th time since 1998, according to WATE-TV in Knoxville. 43-year-old Lowell Murray of Lafollette was arrested on February 23rd after a police officer saw him walking down the middle of a road. He emitted a strong odor of alcohol and was unsteady on his feet and was charged for the 20th time with public intoxication. He has been arrested 49 other times on charges including rape, sexual battery, domestic violence and vandalism.
Cannon to be dedicated on Militia Hill
Fort Anderson on Militia Hill served as the base of operations for the Tennessee National Guard during the Coal Creek War, when miners rebelled against the use of convict labor in the mines. Although the miners lost the final battle, they won the war when the State of Tennessee abolished convict-leasing and built Brushy Mountain State Prison. The Coal Creek Watershed Foundation says that 4th and 5th graders from Briceville Elementary School will dedicate a cannon on Militia Hill on May 15th, with historical re-enactor Bill White serving as cannoneer.
ATV enthusiasts about to flock to Windrock
(AC Tourism Council) Windrock Park is throttling up for another action-packed Spring Jamboree, April 16 through April 18, 2015. “The Spring Jamboree is a weekend full of adrenaline-pumping fun for everyone,” said Kira Smith-Ludwig, Marketing Manager for Windrock Park. “The jamboree’s numerous competitive events and guided rides are geared toward ATV and side-by-side riders but anyone can come and watch the competitions and check out the shooting range and the concert.”
The competitive events include the ATV Rodeo, Windrock Wide Open, which is a three lap race, drag races, the Windrock Challenge, which is an obstacle course race, a mud drag, a poker run and a dash for cash just for the ladies. The competitive event rules can be found at www.windrockpark.com under events. On Saturday, April 18th, Janelle Arthur, American Idol’s Season 12 top five performer, will perform live at the new Windrock Hollow concert area.
“This past year, we cleared close to 20 acres at the foot of Windrock Mountain for the new Windrock Hollow event area,” said Smith-Ludwig. “The new event area provides enough room for parking, all the competitive events and it has an area just for concerts.”
Manufacturers will also be in the Windrock Hollow event area with vehicle demo rides, giveaways and activities all weekend long. The Spring Jamboree requires competitors and riders have a Land Use Permit with cost starting at $17.00 for a one day permit. Admission to the event is $15 for adults and children 13 and older; $5 for children 6 to 12 and free for children under 6, and is valid for all 3 days. Competition entry/participation is included in the admission fee, with the exception of the Poker Run, which is a fundraiser for local volunteer rescue squads. If you are planning to attend, you’ll want to secure a primitive camping spot, RV spot or luxurious cabin to get the maximum benefit of the Jamboree festivities. The Windrock Park Campground is located on 259 acres with picturesque views of the surrounding mountains. Windrock Park consists of 72,000 acres in Cumberland Mountains of East Tennessee and features over 300 miles of off-roading trails. The entrance to the Park is located at 912 Windrock Road in Oliver Springs, Tennessee. For more information about the park and the jamboree, visit www.windrockpark.com or call 865-435-3492.
Nature walks this spring on OR reservation
Five more nature walks are planned this spring on the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Reservation with themes of frog calls and bat monitoring, wildflowers and forest growth, bird watching, invasive plants, reptiles, and amphibians.
The frog calls and bat monitoring walk is scheduled from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday, April 4, and will be concentrated in the ponds around East Tennessee Technology Park. Wade Gefellers and Kitty McCracken of ORNL’s Environmental Sciences Division will demonstrate how local bat populations are monitored and methods to identify local frog populations based on calls. Participants, limited to 25 with children allowed, will meet at the ETTP visitors overlook parking lot at 7 p.m.
The wildflower and old growth forest walk will take place between 1:30 and 5 p.m. Sunday, April 12. Walking will be off-trail in moderately rough terrain requiring participants to possess good balance and stamina. Native spring wildflowers as well as a stand of old growth trees thriving in the area for 240 years will be featured. Local botanists Larry Pounds and Paul Durr will lead the walk. Participants should meet at 1:30 p.m. at the West Guardhouse along Oak Ridge Turnpike. The walk is limited to 25 and children may participate.
The bird nature walk is scheduled between 7:30 and 11 a.m. Saturday, April 25, in the area around ponds and wetlands close to Poplar Creek and the Clinch River near ETTP. Jim Evans of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency will conduct the tour that will hopefully lead to viewing red-headed woodpeckers, migrating warblers and perhaps even a sora. Binoculars and a field guide to birds are recommended. Limited to 25 participants including children, the group should meet at 7:30 a.m. at the ETTP visitors overlook.
The invasive plant identification and treatment walk will be from 9 until 11:30 a.m. Saturday, May 16, at various sites along the reservation. Conducted by ORNL employees Kitty McCracken (Environmental Sciences Division) and Jamie Herold (Facilities and Operations Directorate), multiple sites will be visited to focus on identification, impacts to other local flora and fauna and treatment options for invasive plants. Limited to 20 participants including children, the group will meet at the West Guardhouse at 9 a.m.
The final spring walk features reptiles and amphibians from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, June 7, in the Solway Bend area. Led by John Byrd of the Clinch River Environmental Studies Organization (CRESO), the group will collect several turtle species and discuss local snake identification and management of local herpetological populations. Children are encouraged on this 20-person walk and will have opportunities to get involved and learn about the animals. Participants should meet at 1:30 p.m. in the parking lot south of the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education at the corner of Bethel Valley and Pumphouse roads.
Most of these walks will be along dirt and gravel roads of between one and two miles. Participants should dress in layers, wear sturdy shoes and bring bug spray and water. A reliable flashlight or headlamp is also recommended during the April 4 night walk. Pets are not permitted.
Reservations for each walk must be made in advance by calling Tracy Clem at 865-574-5151 or email@example.com. If a walk needs to be postponed, a message will be placed at least two hours before the scheduled walk on ORNL’s Information Line at (865) 574-9836.
For more information, contact Trent Jett at (865) 574-9188 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lost military ring’s owner sought
Someone in the Clinton area has found a military ring and is searching for its owner. If you have a lost a military ring in the past couple of days, please call 865-457-3696 and describe it.
Lifestyle & Nutrition subject of talk at TCFP
Take Charge Fitness Program, conveniently located @ 1921 N. Charles Seivers Blvd in Clinton, will be hosting a FREE Seminar on Lifestyles and Nutrition on April 2nd at 12:15 PM!! Juliann Chavez, Ph.D., R.D., L.D.N. will be conducting the seminar. Juliann is a clinical dietitian and provides individual counseling, group classes, and community education throughout Knoxville and East Tennessee. Juliann received her Bachelor of Science in Scientific Nutrition and a Masters degree in Nutrition with a minor in Sociology at Texas A&M University. She completed her dietetic internship in the U.S. Army. Juliann completed her doctoral degree in Child and Family Studies in 2009 at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Primary focus is on child and family nutrition with an emphasis on disease prevention. The presentation will focus on how nutritional needs change as one grows. A family based plan will be introduced that may meet the needs of one or multiple generations in one home. The community is invited to this informative seminar. If you have any questions, please contact Take Charge Fitness staff @ 865-457-8237.
Clinton Community Center announcements
For further information contact: Jan Smith (Swimming Services
Coordinator) at 457-0642 Monday through Thursday between
8 am and 1pm.
RSCC Library Book Sale March 31st & April 1st
The Coffey Library at Roane State Community College’s Oak Ridge campus will host its annual “Love Your Library” book sale March 31 and April 1 from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. each day. The sale will include paperbacks, textbooks, cookbooks, computer software books, children’s books, craft books, and more. Only cash and checks will be accepted. Checks need to be payable to the Roane State Foundation. Prices range from $1-3. The campus is located at 701 Briarcliff Ave. For more information, contact Christi Moss at (865) 354-3000, ext. 4739, or email@example.com.
AC Purchasing Department vendor breakfast held
(AC Purchasing Dept.) Tuesday, the Anderson County Purchasing Department hosted the inaugural Vendor Breakfast event. Inspired by the City of Knoxville’s vendor events, the program was designed to educate local people and businesses on how to do business with Anderson County Government. Anderson County Purchasing partnered with both the Anderson County Chamber of Commerce and Vendor Registry to help spread the word, and also to answer questions. In all, 28 vendors attended Tuesday’s event. For fiscal year 2014/2015, Anderson County is managing more than $65 million in goods and services. The fiscal year 2014/2105 budget is approximately $108 million, and of that amount, $65 million is flowing through the Purchasing Department.
“We hope to expand on this event each year to assist Anderson County vendors in becoming familiar with the county’s purchasing process,” Purchasing Agent Pamela Cotham said. “Ultimately, we want to have local businesses procurement dollars reinvested back into the local economy. I would like to thank Brian Strong with Vendor Registry for partnering with us to sponsor this event.”
“The vendor event was about spreading the word about the opportunities that are available to do business with Anderson County. We want more business people in our community and in our region to know about the business they can do right here at home. And, we also recognize that healthy competition is good for the taxpayers and enables Anderson County to serve more people with the dollars we are entrusted to manage,” County Mayor Terry Frank said.
“Pamela Cotham and her team – Toni, Karen, and Shelia — have enormous responsibility and I am extremely proud of how efficiently they manage the volume of purchasing work that comes through their office,” said Mayor Frank.
The Anderson County Purchasing Department has the responsibility to make the most economical acquisition of quality materials and services that will assure efficient operation of county departments.
Coal Creek Museum clean-up
(AC Tourism Council) The Coal Creek Miners Museum Board of Directors, its volunteers and the City of Rocky Top have been working to obtain funding for the remodel of the new Coal Creek Miners Museum building. Late last year, they applied for an Appalachian Resource Commission grant and applied to two other private foundations for funds. They are still waiting to hear whether or not they will receive any funding. “This will allow us to get the museum ready for the remodel and to see the extent of the work that needs to be done,” said Tim Isbel, Chairperson of the Coal Creek Miners Museum Board of Directors. “The main reason we are seeking funds through grants and foundations because we need to install an elevator so the public can access the second floor. However, if we don’t receive the grants, we want to be ready to do what we can.” In the meantime, they are planning a Spring Cleaning at the future home of the Coal Creek Miners Museum. If you would like to help, plan on meeting at future museum (former Bank of America building located next to Rocky Top City Hall on Main Street) on April 11th at 9 a.m. They will work until around 12 noon. For more information, call 865-659-2829 or visit www.coalcreekminersmuseum.com.
Volunteers will be removing tile and carpet, cleaning windows, wiping down fixtures, hauling out trash and much more. If you have shovel, brooms, wheelbarrows, ShopVacs, or any other tools that you think would be helpful, please bring them. Also bring gloves and wear durable shoes.
Roane County Career Day
(Roane County Chamber) More than 500 high school juniors will attend the Roane County Chamber of Commerce’s seventh annual High School Career Day on April 2. The students will learn about a wide range of career opportunities from representatives from approximately 50 businesses within and near Roane County. The event provides a critical link between the classroom and the workplace by allowing students to explore various career options so that they can make informed educational and career choices.
To prepare the students for Career Day, Roane County teachers explain that businesses want good workers that are prepared, and that most of the jobs will require some education or training beyond high school. Either a two- or four-year college degree, or vocational training that earns a marketable skill or certification, is needed in today's labor market. The teachers also have students write resumes, discuss interviewing techniques, learn how to conduct themselves in an interview, and how to properly dress for an interview.
In addition to learning about careers, students benefit from Career Day by their learning about:
Beginning with this Career Day, some businesses will be telling students about Work-Based Learning opportunities available during their senior year.
Work-Based Learning is a proactive approach to bridging the gap between high school and high-demand, high-skill careers. Students build on classroom-based instruction to develop employability skills that prepare them for success in postsecondary education and future careers. Through experiences like internships, apprenticeships, and cooperative education (co-op) with local businesses, high school juniors or seniors (16 years or older) may earn high school credit for these experiences.
Working together, Roane County Schools and the Roane Alliance, have the goal of increasing the number and kinds of businesses offering Work-Based Learning experiences. For example, this year, C. R. Barger and Sons, a manufacturer of pre-cast concrete in Roane County, hired two students as a co-op. Another manufacturing business, Dienamic Tooling Systems, has a student in an apprenticeship program.
Businesses interested in learning more about Work-Based Learning experiences for students may contact Allen Lutz at alutz@RoaneAlliance.org or call 865-803-9086.
More about Career Day is available at www.RoaneAlliance.org/CareerDay.
The career fair is possible because of the combined support of The Roane Alliance, Roane County Chamber of Commerce Education Committee, Roane County Schools, Roane State Community College, the Tennessee College of Applied Technology-Harriman, and the many businesses that participate.
The Chamber is a partner in The Roane Alliance - Roane County's economic development organization. The partners who operate under the Alliance umbrella along with the Chamber include the Industrial Development Board and Visitors Bureau. To learn more about how the Roane Alliance promotes economic development and seeks increased opportunities for all Roane County citizens, please visit www.roanealliance.org.
(GSMNP) The Great Smoky Mountains National Park fire management officials plan to conduct a controlled burn of an 80-acre field east of Hyatt Lane in Cades Cove. Weather permitting, burn operations will occur on Wednesday, March 25.
The selected field will be burned as part of a cost-effective strategy to prevent the open fields from being reclaimed by forest. These seasonal controlled burns help perpetuate native herbaceous species that provide high quality cover and foraging opportunities for a diversity of wildlife including deer, turkeys, and ground nesting birds.
“By conducting controlled burns, we are able to maintain the openness of the cove to preserve and maintain its historic character while also reducing non-native species,” said Fire Management Specialist Dave Loveland.
The Park contracts to mow about 1,000 acres of fields that are clearly visible from the Cades Cove Loop Road annually. Other fields that are less visible from the loop road, totaling around 1,500 acres, are kept open by burning or mowing on a three-year rotation.
The loop road and historic structures will remain open to visitor use, but brief delays and temporary closures of side roads may occur to ensure public safety during burn operations. Park staff will be present to answer questions during operations at overlooks and parking areas.
Visitors should expect to see fire activity and smoke during controlled burn operations. Fire managers ask that motorists reduce speed in work zones, but refrain from stopping in the roadways. If smoke is present, roll your windows up and turn on your headlights.
For more information on the use of prescribed burns in Great Smoky Mountains NP, visit our website http://www.nps.gov/grsm/learn/nature/wildlandfire.htm.
(GSMNP) Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced plans to open Clingmans Dome Road this weekend beginning Friday, March 27 as weather permits. Due to mild temperatures this week, park crews have been able to prepare the road and facilities for the seasonal spring opening ahead of schedule allowing additional opportunities for visitors to reach the popular destination. Accessible by vehicle, the 7-mile road leading to Clingmans Dome is typically closed December 1 through March 31 of each year due to winter weather. At 6,643 feet, Clingmans Dome is the highest point in the park and the third highest mountain east of the Mississippi. Park visitors can enjoy views from the parking area or climb the steep, half-mile walk to the observation tower to the summit of Clingmans Dome which offers spectacular 360° views of the Smokies. Visitors may receive information and trip planning advice at the Clingmans Dome Information Center which includes a bookstore managed by Great Smoky Mountains Association. The road will continue to be monitored for hazardous conditions and could be closed due to inclement weather. For the most current road closure information, please call 865-436-1200 x 631 or follow SmokiesRoadsNPS on Twitter.
New top trooper in Knox District
(THP) Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) Colonel Tracy Trott today announced the appointment of Jessie W. Brooks to Captain of the agency’s Knoxville District. Brooks had served as the Captain in the THP’s Chattanooga District since 2013. This new assignment is effective March 30.
This appointment is prompted by the retirement of Captain David McGill, who began his career with the agency in 1986. He oversaw the Knoxville District since 2013, and prior to that, served as captain of the 12-county Chattanooga District for just over two years.
“We appreciate David’s contribution to the THP in both the Knoxville and Chattanooga Districts. He has been a tireless worker and a dedicated employee who will be missed,” Colonel Trott said.
Captain Brooks is a 32-year veteran of the THP. Prior to leading the Chattanooga District, he served as Administrative Lieutenant in the Knoxville District for four years. In that role, he oversaw the operations of the office and staff. Brooks also held positions as Safety Education Lieutenant, Troop Sergeant, and Litter Sergeant in Knoxville. He also has extensive experience in dignitary protection.
“Jessie has served the state well in Chattanooga and deserves the right to return to his home district of Knoxville. With his leadership, the Knoxville District will continue to be in good hands,” Trott said.
Brooks started his career with the THP as Road Trooper in 1981, assigned to Roane and later Knox Counties. He served as a Deputy in the Hamblen County Sheriff’s Department from 1975 to 1981. Brooks is also a veteran of the United States Navy Reserve.
Brooks earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Bethel University and is working towards a master’s degree. He is a graduate of the Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command School.
The new Chattanooga District Captain will be announced in the coming weeks.
AAA: Distracted driving huge problem among teens
(AAA) The most comprehensive research ever conducted into crash videos of teen drivers has found significant evidence that distracted driving is likely much more serious a problem than previously known, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The unprecedented video analysis finds that distraction was a factor in nearly 6 out of 10 moderate-to-severe teen crashes, which is four times as many as official estimates based on police reports. Researchers analyzed the six seconds leading up to a crash in nearly 1,700 videos of teen drivers taken from in-vehicle event recorders. The results showed that distraction was a factor in 58 percent of all crashes studied; including 89 percent of road-departure crashes and 76 percent of rear-end crashes. NHTSA previously has estimated that distraction is a factor in only 14 percent of all teen driver crashes.
“Access to crash videos has allowed us to better understand the moments leading up to a vehicle impact in a way that was previously impossible,” said Peter Kissinger, President and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “The in-depth analysis provides indisputable evidence that teen drivers are distracted in a much greater percentage of crashes than we previously realized.”
The most common forms of distraction leading up to a crash by a teen driver included:
“This research confirms that passengers and cell phones are the two most prevalent distractions for teen drivers involved in crashes,” said Auto Club Group Traffic Safety Consultant Matt Nasworthy. “That is why it is so important for states to review their graduated driver licensing and distracted driving laws to ensure they provide as much protection as possible for teens.” AAA recommends that state laws prohibit cell phone use by teen drivers and restrict passengers to one non-family member for the first six months of driving. Graduated driver licensing (GDL) laws allow new drivers to gain practical experience in a relatively safe environment by restricting their exposure to risky situations. Thirty-three states have laws that prevent cell phone use for teens and 18 states have passenger restrictions meeting AAA’s recommendations.
Parents play a critical role in preventing distracted driving. AAA recommends that parents teach teens about the dangers of cell phone use and restrict passengers during the learning-to-drive process. Before parents begin practice driving with teens, they should create a parent-teen driving agreement that includes strict ground rules related to distraction. AAA offers a comprehensive driver education program, where teens can learn specifically how using a cell phone affects driving abilities and increases their crash risk. For more information, visit TeenDriving.AAA.com.
Teens have the highest crash rate of any group in the United States. About 963,000 drivers age 16-19 were involved in police-reported crashes in 2013, which is the most recent year of available data. These crashes resulted in 383,000 injuries and 2,865 deaths. The full research report and b-roll video of teen driver crashes is available on the Foundation’s website. The Foundation partnered with researchers at the University of Iowa to conduct this study.
County Road Relief Act of 2015
(Sen. Ken Yager) Legislation returning millions of dollars to taxpayers in the form of road infrastructure improvements was approved by the full Senate on Monday night. The “County Road Relief Act of 2015,” sponsored by Senator Ken Yager (R-Kingston), changes the way Tennessee currently manages its State Aid Road Grant Program to make it easier for counties to access state funds to upgrade, repair and improve roads.
“This legislation helps to unlock local money that has been sitting unused to help aid communities with making needed road improvements,” said Senator Yager. “Counties may have state road aid accounts, but cannot access those funds because they can’t afford the match. This will help get needed road work done in all 95 Tennessee counties.”
Currently, to receive funding through the State Highway Aid System, a 25 percent local match must be made by local governments. Senate Bill 1005 would allow a county to use state highway aid for a project, as long as they contribute at least two percent of the approved project cost or provide in-kind work as approved by the Department of Transportation. The legislation is particularly helpful to rural counties whom are struggling financially. “I am very excited about the potential that this legislation brings not only to provide better roads for our citizens but to bring in new industry and jobs to our communities,” Yager added. The legislation is modeled after the County Bridge Relief Act of 2014, also sponsored by Yager, which lowered the match to allow local governments to access unused funds in Tennessee’s State Aid Bridge Grant Program. That program has allowed counties to access unused funds to improve bridges which had fallen into disrepair.
Developing: ORPD searching for shooting suspect
Oak Ridge police are searching for a man wanted on attempted first-degree murder charges. According to a police department release, 23-year-old Asante Harris of Oak Ridge is considered armed and dangerous. Police say Harris fired several shots at a person in the 200 block of S. Dillard Avenue shortly before 9:45 a.m. Monday. Officials have issued three felony warrants against Harris on attempted first degree murder, felony reckless endangerment and felony vandalism charges. Oak Ridge police are continuing to investigate the incident and won't release additional details at this time. Anyone with information on Harris is asked to call the nearest law enforcement agency or Oak Ridge Police Department Criminal Investigation Division at (865) 425-3968 or (865) 425-3502.
Head Start/Pre-K registration March 31st
Registration for Anderson County Early Head Start/Head Start and Pre-K classes will be held on Tuesday March 31st from 8 am to 6 pm at the Anderson County Head Start and Preschool Office at 708 North Main Street in Clinton. Head Start is the comprehensive preschool program designed for low-income families with children ages six weeks to four years old. There are no fees for the program and breakfast, lunch and a snack that meet federal guidelines are provided at no charge. There are federal income guidelines that must be met to be eligible for the Head Start program. The Pre-K program is funded by the state and while there are also income guidelines for this program, children who are not income-eligible may meet other criteria that do make them eligible. There may be a cost for meals in Pre-K based upon the free- and reduced-price lunch scale. If you are interested in applying, please call for an appointment for Tuesday’s registration. If you have already registered, you may still want to call and schedule an appointment to update your child’s application and make sure everything is still in order. When you come to the registration, you will need to bring:
To get more information or set up an appointment to register your child for Head Start or Pre-K on Tuesday March 31st, call Tammy Hembree or Anita Smith at 865-463-2833 or 865-463-2839.
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.
Location where winning ticket sold revealed, winner still a mystery
The Tennessee Lottery announced today that a $50 million winning
Powerball ticket was purchased at Rocky Top Market, 1811 Roane Street,
in Harriman. The retailer location will receive $25,000 for selling the
winning jackpot ticket, in addition to a bright public spotlight and a
few more Lottery customers in search of similar good fortune. This is
the third largest prize in Tennessee Lottery history and the second
Powerball jackpot win in Tennessee during the past year. (A Knoxville
man won a $259.8 million jackpot in June 2014.) In the
West Tennessee town of
Hohenwald, a $2
million Powerball ticket was sold at Nick & Bubba’s Beer & Bait, 281
Summertown Hwy. That retailer will receive $5,000. The winners of both
Powerball prizes remain unknown at this time. Lottery officials advise
the ticket holders to sign the back of the ticket, keep it in a secure
location, consult with a financial adviser, and call the Lottery
headquarters in Nashville before coming to claim the prize. The Lottery
will release additional details as they become available. Each winner
has 180 days from the date of the drawing to claim the prize.
AC Chamber continues service to small businesses
(Submitted) The Anderson County Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Tennessee Small Business Development Center will host a free workshop for potential and existing small business owners and entrepreneurs who want a better understanding of the business planning process. The TSBDC advises and assists entrepreneurs and small business owners in our area at no cost to them. This free seminar will be held on Tuesday, April 7, 2015, 11:30 am to 1:30 pm at the Anderson County Chamber of Commerce office (245 N. Main St., Ste., 200, Clinton), with Jutta Bangs, Director of the TSBDC center at Roane State Community College. The workshop covers the fundamentals of writing a business plan, as well as specifics of market research, operations, and financial projections. Space is limited and advance registration is required. Reserve your space by contacting the Anderson County Chamber of Commerce, 865-457-2559 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about the TSBDC, please visit www.tsbdc.org.
Roane fire damages vacant home, injures none
A fire heavily damaged a large, vacant one-story house on Old Harriman Highway early Sunday morning. The fire was reported at 883 Old Harriman Highway at 3:40 a.m. Sunday. The house is located in the Blair Fire Department’s district but crews from the Oliver Springs, and Midtown Fire Departments, along with the Roane County Office of Emergency Services responded with a total of seven engine/tankers and two rescue units. Anderson County EMS sent a medic unit which ultimately was not needed and a Harriman Utilities Board crew cut the power to the house. Water was hauled from a hydrant on Old Harriman Highway about a half-mile away. Crews were on the scene for about three hours. No injuries were reported and the cause of the fire remains under investigation.
ORCB announces Spring Concert
Sunday, April 19th, the Oak Ridge Wind Ensemble/Community Band will present its Spring Concert at 3:30 pm in the Oak Ridge High School Performing Arts Center (1450 Oak Ridge Turnpike, Oak Ridge). Make plans to attend this outstanding concert program of musical favorites with guest director and former University of Tennessee assistant band conductor Walter McDaniel. Admission is $8 adults, $6 senior citizens/students. For more information, visit www.orcb.org or call 865-482-3568.
CHS baseball to honor veterans
The Clinton High School baseball team will honor America’s veterans on Monday April 6th when they hold “Veterans’ Recognition Night” at the baseball field at Jaycee Park in Clinton. That night’s opponent will be the Oak Ridge Wildcats and the first pitch is scheduled for 7 pm. Veterans will receive a free meal and free admission to the ball game. Veterans may begin eating at 5 pm and will be recognized at home plate before the game.
Little Ponderosa welcomes 10K-plus on Saturday
Saturday’s Community Appreciation Day at the Little Ponderosa Zoo in Clinton drew over 10,000 visitors. Zoo staff members say that 10,214 people came through the gates as the zoo offered free admission to say ‘thank you’ to everyone who has supported them, not only during last month’s bad weather, but those who support them all year-round. For more information on Little Ponderosa, visit them online at www.littleponderosazoo.com.
AC Animal Welfare Committee to meet
The Anderson County Animal Welfare Task Force will meet at 4 p.m. Monday, March 30. The meeting will be in Room 118A at the Anderson County Courthouse in Clinton.
Clinton announces Spring Clean-Up Day
The City of Clinton Public Works Department has announced that Spring Clean-Up Day will be held this year on Monday April 6th (an annual event on the first Mondays in April). Public Works crews will be collecting items that normally are not collected during household garbage pick-up and taking them to the Chestnut Ridge Landfill (residential only, no commercial items collected). Residents should place refuse and rubbish items beside the street, ensuring that nothing protrudes into the street or obstructs sidewalks, utility poles, water meters, fire hydrants, or mailboxes. Items for collection MUST be at the curb by 7:30 a.m. Monday April 6, 2015. Public Works crews will be following a scheduled route to make collections one time on each residential street. Once a crew has cleared an individual street, they will move to another area and will not be able to return for a second or late collection. The maximum quantity of items per household is the equivalent of one pick-up truck load. Items for collection may include:
Water heaters, stoves, mattresses, box springs, furniture, and appliances.
Recyclable items (electronics, computers, TVs, newspapers, magazines, plastics, cardboard, glass, and cans) should be separated so we may deliver them to our Recycling Center, rather than the sanitary landfill.
Crews will not be able to collect the following:
(Some of these items may be dropped off at the Blockhouse Valley facility. Call Anderson County Solid Waste at 865-457-6244 for details.) Brush and Leaf Collections are covered under separate schedules and policies. Residents with questions or comments may e-mail email@example.com or telephone 457-6495.
Ex-cop arrested in Roane shooting
A former police officer was arrested after he allegedly shot his estranged wife several times on Saturday afternoon near Harriman. The Roane County Sheriff’s Office says that 41-year-old Jeremy Alexander Gambrell was taken into custody after a four-hour long standoff at a home on Blair Road and faces multiple charges in connection with the incident. Officials say that a domestic disturbance tied to an ongoing divorce led to Saturday’s shooting, which left the victim suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. She was flown to an area hospital, where she underwent surgery and is said to be recovering. Investigators say four people were at the house at the time of the shooting, namely Gambrell and his father, Gambrell’s wife and her boyfriend. An argument via text message between Gambrell and the boyfriend may have played a role in the incident, which came to an ultimately peaceful resolution about four hours after deputies first arrived on the scene when Gambrell was arrested. Deputies say he appeared to be under the influence of narcotics at the time he was taken into custody. Gambrell previously worked as a police officer with the Lenoir City and TVA police departments. The TBI is assisting the Roane County Sheriff’s Office in its investigation into the shooting. No one else was hurt in the incident.
Kite Festival returns to OR
First Cumberland Presbyterian Church Of Oak Ridge announced today the 9th Annual Family Kite Festival on Saturday April 25, 2015 beginning at 12 Noon until 4 PM on the front lawn of the church located at 127 Lafayette Drive, Oak Ridge, TN 37831 on the corner of Lafayette Drive and Laboratory Road. The 9th Annual Family Kite Festival is totally free with free registration, treats, water and even a free Family Kite Festival Kite Workshop beginning at 12 Noon where kids and parents can build and decorate their own kite with free supplies and kit builder instructors provided by the event staff. Each Kite Kit includes plastic kite, sticks, kite tail & handle with string. Plus, every participant will receive a 9th Annual Family Kite Festival Certificate Of Participation. All children and parents need to do is contact First Cumberland Presbyterian Church Of Oak Ridge at 483-8433 any weekday between 9AM until 3PM and register for the event and kite workshop. Pre-registration is recommended to insure availability of Kite Workshop supplies the day of event. First Cumberland Presbyterian Church has been part of the Oak Ridge Community since 1953 and we look forward to presenting this exciting family event to the entire community. Contact Carol Williams at 865-483-8433 for more information or online at www.1stcpc.org
AC Health Department reschedules Lunch & Learn
The Anderson County Health Department is sponsoring a Lunch and Learn on Tuesday, April 7th, entitled Creating Opportunities for Improving Health for Children Born Drug-Dependent. The guest speaker will be Patricia Zetterberg, MSN, C-PNP who is Director of Clinical Operation at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. Children’s Hospital is nationally recognized as one of the leading providers for treatment of drug-dependent newborns. Following Ms. Zetterberg’s presentation there will be an expert panel discussion and a chance to voice concerns and ask questions. This seminar is designed for parents and caregivers of children born drug-dependent, as well as professionals in the field. Since January 1, 2013, when Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) was added to the Department of Health’s list of reportable diseases, East Tennessee continues to experience the highest rate in the state of babies born to mothers who are drug-dependent. Tennessee estimates the care of an infant born with NAS may exceed $40,000 throughout the first year of life compared with costs of $4,300 for an otherwise healthy infant born at a normal birth weight. The Lunch and Learn, which was originally scheduled for February and had to be postponed due to weather, will occur on Tuesday, April 7th from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. It will be held at the Anderson County Health Department which is located at 710 North Main Street near downtown Clinton. The seminar is offered at no charge and lunch will be provided. Advance reservations are necessary as space is limited so please call early. Reservations and inquiries can be made by calling or writing Anne Lyles at 865- 425-8731 or Anne.Lyles@tn.gov . Please include your lunch preference of chicken salad, vegetarian, or a garden salad.
OS Council takes interim tag off Campbell
The Oliver Springs City Council voted unanimously Thursday to take the interim tag off of City Manager Becky Campbell’s title and install her in that position on a full-time basis. She will be paid slightly more than the previous City Manager, whom she replaced in October of 2014. Campbell, who has been an Oliver Springs employee for almost 18 years, will not be subject to the standard 90-day probationary period and, according to our partners at BBB-TV, would not have accepted the job had that been part of the deal. The Council also voted to hire Lisa Relford as Campbell’s assistant. Relford currently serves as a dispatcher for the Oliver Springs Police Department.
Volunteers for Rocky Top Bluegrass Festival sought
If you are interested in volunteering to work at next month’s Rocky Top Bluegrass Festival scheduled for Friday April 24th and Saturday April 25th, contact Sharon Disney at 865-387-2774 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.  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.  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.
ACCAC announces garden seed program details
Anderson County Community Action is now accepting applications for the free 2015 garden seed program. The deadline to have applications returned to ACCAC will be April 20th. Please be sure to provide birth dates and social security numbers for all household members along with proof of all household income (Not a bank statement). The program is for Anderson County residents only! This program is funded by United Way of Anderson County, Tennessee Department of Human Services, and local church donations. For more information on how to sign-up for the seeds or make a donation to the Garden Seed Program please call 457-5500 and leave a message for Angie.
ORT: NPS, DOE officials to start planning historical park
(Oak Ridge Today) It took years to win approval of a Manhattan Project National Historical Park, and now that the park bill has been signed into law, planning is starting. As part of that process, officials from the National Park Service and U.S. Department of Energy will visit Oak Ridge next week. The visit will include a Thursday morning open house hosted by the City of Oak Ridge. The open house is scheduled from 10 to 11 a.m. Thursday, March 26, in the A/B Room at the Oak Ridge Civic Center. It’s open to the public, and reservations are not required. The team of NPS and DOE officials will be visiting Oak Ridge to begin planning for the Manhattan Project National Historical Park. The planning team is expected to include senior National Park Service representatives from Washington, D.C., the Southeastern Regional Office in Atlanta, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and Big South Fork. The delegation will also include the U.S. Department of Energy’s chief historian, as well as the DOE’s senior consultant for historic preservation, and DOE representatives from Los Alamos and Hanford. The DOE offices in Oak Ridge are hosting the visit. The Manhattan National Historical Park legislation was passed by Congress in December 2014, and signed into law by President Barack Obama on December 19. The law designates sites in Oak Ridge; Los Alamos, New Mexico; and Hanford, Washington as a three-site national park. The law recognizes the Manhattan Project as one of the most significant events in U.S. history, with assets and history that must be preserved.
Area educators receive recognition
Several area educators have been honored by their peers for their service to our children. Clinton High School Principal Eric Snider was voted the Anderson County school system’s Principal of the Year by the 16 other principals in the system. Snider, who is in 5th year as the Chief Dragon, was named the High School Principal of the Year last year. Previously, the system gave separate awards for Elementary, Middle and High School principals. The Clinton City schools named Clinton Elementary School Principal Jenna Sharp its Principal of the Year for this, her first year in that post. Clinton Elementary’s Teacher of the Year is 6th grade reading/language arts and social studies teacher Lauren Murphy. North Clinton’s intervention specialist Lynn Neal was named that school’s Teacher of the Year and the South Clinton Elementary School teacher of the Year is second-grade teacher Lauren Neal. All of these honorees and others will be honored on Tuesday March 31st at the Family Life Center of First Baptist Church in Clinton during an awards banquet.
Chancellor rules no conflict on school propane deal
A specially-appointed Chancellor has ruled on a seemingly routine propane gas contract awarded last year that became controversial when some county officials learned of a possible conflict of interest. Last spring, the county awarded a propane gas contract to Blossman Gas Incorporated to supply propane to the county school system after it had gone through the Purchasing Committee. Scott Daugherty, the manager of Blossman’s Knoxville location, is an Anderson County resident and serves on the Purchasing Committee. When this particular contract came up, Daugherty told fellow committee members he was employed by Blossman and recused himself from the vote. Blossman’s bid was the winning proposal and the committee approved the deal, which was also later approved by the full County Commission. Shortly after the Commission vote, however, some county officials became concerned about the possible conflict of interest posed by Daugherty’s inclusion on the Purchasing Committee and voted the following month to rescind the contract. County Mayor Terry Frank sought a chancellor’s opinion and Anderson County Chancellor Nicki Cantrell recused herself from the case. Knox County Chancellor Michael Moyers heard the case and last week, ruled that because Daugherty is a salaried employee of Blossman who receives no commission or bonus based on the contract in question, or any other contract, he received no “personal beneficial interest,” and no conflict existed. The Chancellor wrote in his opinion, filed last week, that “Mr. Daugherty’s employment with Blossman Gas has no bearing on the validity of the Blossman contract.” That cleared the way for the deal to be reinstated but commissioners on Monday voted to table the issue until next month so that they can read the legal opinion, which they did not receive until shortly before this month’s meeting, for themselves. Some question whether or not Daugherty’s previous employment by a competing bidder may constitute a conflict, but as far as the question before the court, the deal has legal approval. (EDITOR’S NOTE: Blossman Gas is the title sponsor of WYSH’s high school football talk show in the fall.)
Fire destroys vacant Marlow house
A vacant home in the Marlow community was destroyed by a fire Monday afternoon. The property owner told Sheriff’s deputies and firefighters that the house at 143 Talley Lane had been vacant for eight years after a previous fire destroyed much of the structure. She said her son had been cleaning the property the previous day and had started a burn pile about 50 feet from the home to get rid of trash and wood from inside the building. There was no power to the home but a CUB crew came and checked wires near the house for any damage and a gas can identified by the owner as her son’s was found near the back door of the house. The cause of the fire was determined to be accidental and no injuries were reported. The blaze was extinguished by the Marlow Volunteer Fire Department.
Chemicals start fire in storage building
A storage building on Foster Lane in the Medford community was destroyed by a fire Tuesday afternoon. Property owner Terry Foust told deputies and firefighters that he had been cleaning out the building in order to tear it down at around 3:45 pm when the roof collapsed and a fire broke out. Foust said there were several chemicals like paint, thinner and others stored in the building, some of which had leaked on to the floor. Medford volunteer firefighters say the chemicals likely caused the fire. No injuries were reported.
AC Commission meeting wrap-up
The Anderson County Commission met for the first time since January Monday night and voted unanimously to release the $20,000 in funding that had been held back from the Andersonville Volunteer Fire Department and place them back in the rotation (beginning next year) for county purchase of a new fire truck after the department abandoned its controversial and wildly unpopular subscription program and returned to all-volunteer status. Commissioner Phil Warfield said that the department “went above and beyond what Commission asked of them” as far as making things right with county leaders and more importantly the citizens they serve. Commissioners were also introduced to the new fire chief, Del Kennedy.
Commissioners also voted to authorize Law Director Jay Yeager to file a public nuisance lawsuit against a resident of Foust Carney Lane in Claxton over the 75-plus chickens and roosters he keeps in his yard, which is in a subdivision. Neighbors say that the odor—especially in the summer— and noise—from roosters who crow at all times of the day— are a nuisance, with one neighbor saying that, at times, they feel like “prisoners” in their homes. Neighbors also contend that the chickens themselves are being kept in less than ideal conditions. Yeager also cited concerns over the potential contamination of nearby waterways from chicken feces run-off during rainy periods. Yeager recommended that the county begin the process of drawing up ordinances dealing with poultry in residential areas.
In other business, the Commission also voted to set aside money from capital outlay funds for the possible construction of a temporary animal shelter ($25,000) to alleviate some of the county’s animal control problems and money ($34,000) for the possible purchase of land behind the Claxton convenience center to relocate the current facility, which is small and has limited access. In both instances, that money was not allocated but rather, set aside for possible use in the future. Commissioners also voted to allocate $20,000 for the care of animals picked up by Animal Control officers. Currently, the Oak Ridge Animal Shelter is overcrowded and not able to accept animals collected in the county. Instead the county is in many cases sending animals to the Roane County shelter and the bills for that have already topped $16,000 for the first quarter of 2015.
Commissioners voted to overturn County Mayor Terry Frank’s veto of a resolution that prohibits her, or anyone else, from firing a department head or abolishing a department of the county government established by the Commission.
One item that no action was taken on, but will certainly be revisited in the future, was a request from Trustee Rodney Archer to establish a maximum percentage that could be paid in the event the county has to retain a delinquent tax attorney. The state allows a maximum of 10% of the base taxes owed on a delinquent property to be paid to an attorney hired to handle those cases and Archer sought that maximum amount in order to negotiate a deal at a lower rate. Archer says that whether or not an attorney is retained by then, he is required by state law to file a delinquent tax lawsuit by April 1st. At issue is Mayor Frank’s refusal to sign off on Archer’s recommendation that Law Director Jay Yeager be used as the delinquent tax attorney as he has since the creation of his office in 2006. Frank relieved Yeager of those duties late last year as part of their long-running dispute. By law, Archer is required to appoint someone to serve in that capacity pending the Mayor's approval and he appointed Yeager, but Mayor Frank has not backed off her position. Archer and others reached a compromise that will allow him to choose the attorney and negotiate the best deal for the county with regards to their payment. Commissioner Steve Mead said Monday night that it is his understanding that in the event that the Trustee and Mayor cannot agree on an individual to serve in that role, state law dictates that the District Attorney appoint someone as delinquent tax attorney. Some commissioners expressed their concern that in the event an outside attorney is retained, the money from the collection of back taxes would not flow back into county coffers, but would instead go to lawyers. Archer says he can pay for an outside attorney in that role through the end of June with “excess” money in his budget but will not be able to do so once the new fiscal year beings on July 1st. Commissioners voted to table the question until next month despite Archer’s objections, and a vote to rescind that delay failed, meaning that he will not be able to negotiate with any outside legal counsel. This issue will certainly be revisited over the next few months as the saga of the Law Director/Mayor conflict continues to play out.
OR Mall re-do ‘on track and on schedule’
(Information from Oak Ridge Today) Executives from Crosland Southeast, the North Carolina-based company that wants to redevelop the former Oak Ridge Mall property as the mixed-use Main Street Oak Ridge could close on the purchase of the property in June. The project is expected to include a mix of retail shops, restaurants, and residential units, as well as a hotel. Belk and JCPenney, the two remaining anchor stores at the mostly empty mall, would remain, said James Downs, partner in Crosland Southeast. Main Street Oak Ridge will include a total of about 325,000 square feet of retail space, as well as 153 residential units, including spaces for rent in three-story buildings above retail outlets, open space near the center of the development, and possibly as many as 30 retailers or more. Downs said Monday that the project is “on track and on schedule” and that the developers hope to celebrate a grand opening in the fall of 2016. Downs says that several tenants have already committed to the project and that others are expected to sign on in the not-too-distant future, adding that it will be up to the individual tenants to announce their involvement. Construction work and the demolition of enclosed space between anchor stores could start at about the same time as the closing. The project could include a new stoplight on Rutgers Avenue and outdoor dining and outdoor seating near the open space. Existing buildings could get facelifts. Downs said Crosland Southeast is finalizing a contract with a hotel manager. He said Walmart and the Cinemark Tinseltown Theater are outside the project, but Crosland Southeast is working with them. The theater is now an island, and the redevelopment is expected to provide good pedestrian connectivity between the theater and Main Street Oak Ridge, including its restaurants. Wilson, East Main, and West Main streets would be brought up to high standards and become public roadways, developers said. The Oak Ridge Municipal Planning Commission will consider a rezoning and planned unit development, or PUD, plan for Main Street Oak Ridge on March 26. The Oak Ridge City Council will then consider the rezoning and PUD plan on first and second reading in April. For much more on this story, visit our partners at www.oakridgetoday.com.
More on Rocky Top Bluegrass Festival
Bobby Osborne and Rocky Top X-Press will headline the First Annual Rocky Top Bluegrass Festival sponsored by Merle 96.7 FM. The festival will be held on Friday, April 24th from 5:30 to 11 p.m. and Saturday, April 25th from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. at the George Templin Memorial Athletic Field located at 214 North Main Street, Rocky Top, Tennessee.
"Mr. Osborne contacted us because the Osborne Brothers were the first to
perform and record “Rocky Top" and he wanted to be the first to perform
the song in our newly named town of
Tennessee", said Mike Lovely, Mayor of Rocky Top. "As a result of his
interest, we decided to have a festival featuring some of the top groups
Out of respect for our food vendors, backpacks and coolers will not be allowed in the festival area.
Free parking for the event will be in designated areas and shuttles will be provided to the festival area. Maps for parking areas are available online at www.rockytopbluegrassfestival.com. Gates will open at 4 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. on Saturday.
Tickets may be purchased online at www.rockytopbluegrassfestival.com or
in person at the WYSH AM Studios in Clinton, Rocky Top City Hall and
Mark's Pharmacy in Rocky Top. Prices are $25 plus tax for Friday, $35
plus tax for Saturday, or $50 plus tax for a two day pass and children
under 10 years of age are free.
Proceeds from the Rocky Top Bluegrass Festival will benefit the Coal Creek Miners Museum building fund, the North Anderson County Boys and Girls Club, and the soon to be renamed Rocky Top Elementary and Middle Schools.
The First Annual Rocky Top Bluegrass Festival is sponsored by Merle 96.7 FM, WDVX 89.9 FM, the City of Rocky Top, the Rocky Top Chamber of Commerce, and the Anderson County Tourism Council.
Merle lands another big name
In its second major announcement in less than a week, Merle 96.7 (WMYL/Knoxville) today announced the addition of Hall of Fame Program Director and Music Consultant Mike Hammond. “Mike brings four decades of country music knowledge and relationships from Nashville to Knoxville to Merle FM,” says Jack Ryan, Merle afternoon show host and station partner. “I’m pleased to have him available on a professional level as well as a personal one.”
In addition to the professional aspect of Hammond’s presence at the radio group, there’s a personal one: Mike is Jack’s father. “While Jack’s air name is Ryan, his last name is Hammond,” says Mike. We’re both excited to be working together again in this way.”
Hammond serves as the Knox County Criminal Court Clerk. "This is my focus each day, and I am proud of what our team has accomplished. Working with Merle on the weekends will be another extension of my public service as I work with artists and musicians to give them the chance to have their music heard on the radio."
"In my 40 year career in country radio, music has been my passion. The
chance to hear new artists like Kenny Chesney and Taylor Swift and see
their careers go worldwide has been a source of pride to me. I hope to
continue that tradition with Merle FM. Ron and Jack are passionate
about the music and I look forward to working with them to bring not
only new music from Nashville but music from our local artists as well."
begins his new role April 1. He can be reached via e mail at
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.
Thursday Night Dance March 26th
You are invited to “break out of the winter blues” and grab your dancing shoes to celebrate the start of spring at a Band Dance at the Clinton Community Center on Thursday March 26th from 6:30 to 9 pm. Music will be provided by the Mood Swings. Attendees are asked to bring finger foods. Admission is $6 person and the event is sponsored by the Thursday Night Dance Group. For more information, call Bea at 865-457-1840 or Alene at 865-457-9416.
RAM JAM rescheduled
The fundraising telethon and concert to support the Anderson County Remote Area Medical—or RAM—Expedition coming to First Baptist Church of Clinton’s Family Life Center April 11th and 12th, postponed last month because of the weather, has been rescheduled for Friday March 27th from 7 to 9 pm. Come on out and enjoy tons of local singers and musicians as well as concessions and fellowship and raise money for a great cause. If you cannot make it that night, tune in to WYSH or BBB-TV and donate from home at www.andersoncountyram.com. RAM will provide free medical, dental and vision services to those in need that weekend and all donations will support the clinic.
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.
Medic needs blood
MEDIC Regional Blood Center is making an emergency appeal for blood donations.
MEDIC says in the last week, there's been a spike in the amount of blood needed by local hospitals. Along with the demand, there's been a drop in donations due to the weeks of ice and snow, contributing to the shortage. While Type O negative blood donors are needed immediately, inventory is low on all blood types.
Local agencies aid in Knox pill mill probe
(US Attorney’s Office) A federal grand jury in Knoxville has returned indictments charging multiple individuals for their roles in the proliferation of several “pill mills” in Knox and adjacent counties over the past few years. The primary defendant in the investigation, Sylvia Hoffstetter, 51, of Knoxville, is charged with conspiring with other pain clinic operators or sponsors of pill shopping organizations to distribute oxycodone, and to launder the proceeds generated by those clinics. Hoffstetter, who was arraigned on Mar. 10, 2015, before U.S. Magistrate Judge C. Clifford Shirley, Jr., is accused of being responsible for the distribution of a quantity of oxycodone sufficient to generate clinic revenue of at least $17.5M between April 2011 and March 2015. She was ordered to be jailed upon the government’s motion until a detention hearing is conducted on Friday, Mar. 13, 2015. Several others were arrested on Tuesday and made their initial appearances before the court. Other arrests are pending. If convicted as charged, each defendant faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $1M on the drug trafficking charge and up to another 20 years and a fine of up to $500,000 on the money laundering charges. There is no parole in the federal system. U.S. Attorney William C. Killian and FBI Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Edward Reinhold announced that this indictment is the result of an investigation by the FBI High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA). The FBI HIDTA is composed of FBI special agents and investigators assigned to the task force by Blount County Sheriff James Berrong, Clinton Police Chief Rick Scarborough, Harriman Police Chief Randy Heidle, Knox County Sheriff Jimmy “J. J.” Jones, Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch, Loudon County Sheriff Tim Guider, and Roane County Sheriff Jack Stockton. SAC Reinhold also expressed his appreciation to Jefferson County Sheriff Bud McCoig and Kingston Police Chief Jim Washam for providing assistance in the arrests of some of these defendants. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tracy L. Stone and Anne-Marie Svolto will represent the United States in the prosecution of these cases.
Smokies announce spring opening dates
(GSMNP) Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announce the spring opening schedule for park facilities for the 2015 season. Campgrounds and secondary roads will begin opening Friday, March 13. The schedule follows:
Roads – Secondary Roads are scheduled to open as follows: Forge Creek Road will open on March 6; Clingmans Dome Road will open on April 1; Round Bottom/Straight Fork Road will open April 3; Parson Branch, Rich Mountain Road, and Little Greenbrier will open on April 10; Heintooga Ridge and Balsam Mountain roads will open on May 22. Roaring Fork Nature Trail is scheduled to reopen May 1, pending completion of bridge replacement project.
Cades Cove Loop Road will be closed for bicycle use only on Wednesday and Saturday mornings until 10:00 a.m. from May 6 through September 23.
Operating Hours for Visitor Centers – The three visitor centers are open daily and the operating hours through March are as follows: Sugarlands Visitor Center, near Gatlinburg, TN, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Cades Cove Visitor Center, near Townsend, TN, 9:00 a.m.-6:30 p.m., and the Oconaluftee Visitor Center near Cherokee, NC, hours will be 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Hours are extended for each location as the season progresses. Clingmans Dome Visitor Information Center will open April 1.
Operating Hours for Backcountry Office – The Backcountry Office located at the Sugarlands Visitor Center, near Gatlinburg, TN, is open every day from 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Backcountry reservations and permits can be obtained online at www.smokiespermits.nps.gov or by calling 865-436-1297.
www.Recreation.gov provides visitors an opportunity to make reservations to many federally-managed recreation areas, including National Park Service areas, all across the U.S. The park’s developed campgrounds of Cataloochee, Elkmont, Cades Cove, Smokemont, and some sites at Cosby are on the reservation system for at least a portion of their seasons. The system allows campers to reserve specific campsites and to make reservations 6 months in advance. Group campsites and picnic pavilions can be reserved up to 12 months in advance. Visitors can make reservations at the five campgrounds, all group campsites, horse camps, and picnic shelters by booking sites online at www.Recreation.gov or by calling 877-444-6777.
Campgrounds will open on a staggered schedule starting March 13. See the following schedule for exact dates. Reservations are recommended at Cades Cove, Elkmont, and Smokemont for the period from May 15-October 31 (for other dates, the three campgrounds are first come, first serve). Advance reservations are required at Cataloochee Campground throughout the entire season. Cosby Campground, which has mostly first-come, first-served campsites, has a limited number of reservable sites during its season. Camping fees range from $14 to $23 per site per night.
Campers have an opportunity to camp in generator-free campsites at Cades Cove, Elkmont, and Smokemont campgrounds. The generator-free loop sections of these campgrounds are reservable through www.Recreation.gov.
Group Camping will be available at seven campgrounds (see schedule for opening dates) and reservations must be made through Recreation.gov. Group camping is available at Big Creek, Cataloochee, Cosby, Deep Creek, Elkmont, Cades Cove, and Smokemont. The cost for group camps ranges from $26 to $65 per site per night.
Horse Camps at Cataloochee, Round Bottom, and Tow String will open April 3. Anthony Creek will open on April 1 and Big Creek on April 11. Reservations are only available through Recreation.gov. The horse site fees are $20 at all horse camps except for Big Creek where it is $25.
NC Campgrounds Fee Open Group Sites Horse Camp ($20, $25)
Balsam Mountain $14 May 22 N/A
Big Creek $14 April 10 April 10 April 10
Cataloochee $20 April 3 April 3 April 3
Deep Creek $17 April 10 April 10
Round Bottom April 3
*Smokemont $17, $20 Year-round May 15
Tow String April 3
TN Campgrounds Fee Open Group Sites Horse Camp ($20, $25)
Abrams Creek $14 May 22 N/A
Anthony Creek April 1
*Cades Cove $17, $20, $23 Year-round March 13
Cosby $14 April 10 April 10
*Elkmont $17, $20, $23 March 13 April 24
Look Rock Closed
*$20 per site during the reservation period May 15-October 31. At Elkmont, riverside sites are $23 during reservation period only.
Picnic Areas at Cades Cove, Deep Creek, Greenbrier, and Metcalf Bottoms picnic areas are open year round. Chimneys picnic area will open on March 14 and Collins Creek picnic area will open on April 3. Big Creek and Cosby picnic areas will open shortly after on April 10. Heintooga picnic area will open on May 22. The opening of Look Rock picnic area is yet to be determined.
The park’s largest picnic pavilion at Twin Creeks opens on April 1 and reservations are required through Recreation.gov. Twin Creeks’ fees range from $35-$75 depending on the number of people. In addition, picnickers can reserve five other picnic pavilions on Recreation.gov. They are located at Collins Creek, Cosby, Deep Creek, Metcalf Bottoms, and Greenbrier picnic areas. The cost is $20, except at Greenbrier where it is $10.
Horseback Riding - The opening dates for the three horseback concessions located on the Tennessee side of the Park are: Smoky Mountain Riding Stable on March 1; Sugarlands Riding Stable on March 1; and Cades Cove on March 7. In addition to horseback rides, Cades Cove Riding Stable will offer their customary carriage rides and hay rides which are wheelchair accessible. The Smokemont Riding Stable in North Carolina will open March 28 providing guided horseback rides along with horse-drawn wagon rides along the route of the historic Oconaluftee Turnpike.
LeConte Lodge, accessible only by trail, will open on March 23. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 865/429-5704, fax 865/774-0045 or email: email@example.com. One night at the lodge costs $136 per adult and $85 for children 10 and under (tax not included). The price includes two meals--dinner and breakfast. Day hikers and backpackers can purchase a prepared bag lunch and snacks/beverages at the lodge. Please note that Alum Cave Trail will be closed Monday through Thursday beginning on May 3 through November 19 for trail restoration. Hikers will need to choose one of the other five trails to reach LeConte Lodge on those days.
Campground Concessions – The Cades Cove Campground Store has been open since March 13. The store provides groceries, camping supplies, firewood, ice, vending, limited food service, souvenirs, and bike rentals. The Cades Cove Store has multi-speed comfort bikes, single speed cruisers, and electric assist bikes for rent. The Elkmont Campground concession opens on March 13. The concession provides firewood, ice, limited camper convenience items, and vending of soft drinks, newspapers, and snacks.
For more information on park events, please visit the park’s website at http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/calendar.htm.
Canadian company moving to OR, bringing 600+ jobs
(TDEC) Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Randy Boyd along with CVMR officials today announced the company will establish its global headquarters in Roane County. CVMR is moving all of its current operations from Toronto, Canada to a Tennessee manufacturing facility located at 103 Palladium Way in Oak Ridge. CVMR is investing $313 million to establish this facility, create the CVMR Centre of Excellence for Innovation in Powder Metallurgy and production facilities for a wide spectrum of advanced metal products, resulting in 620 new jobs for Roane County.
“Today is exciting not just for Oak Ridge and Roane County but for all of Tennessee, and I want to thank CVMR for its significant investment in our state, making us the home of its corporate headquarters, research and development and manufacturing,” Haslam said. “This announcement sends a clear signal around the world about our skilled workforce, Tennessee’s commitment to innovation and its ability to compete in the global marketplace.”
“By leveraging unique resources like Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee is in an extraordinary position to support long-term growth of advanced manufacturers like CVMR,” Boyd said. “The Centre of Excellence for Innovation in Powder Metallurgy sets the stage for future innovation and makes a real statement about the strength of Tennessee’s workforce. Through workforce initiatives, like Drive to 55, we are developing and maintaining a pipeline of students who will be ready to work at some of the most sophisticated manufacturing facilities in the world. I appreciate CVMR’s commitment to Tennessee and the 620 new jobs they are creating in our communities.”
“We evaluated four States before we decided to move our Head Office to Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Tennessee has the infrastructure that our operations require. It has a great University that can supply the scientists and engineers we need. The proximity of Oak Ridge National Laboratories and their willingness to cooperate on a number of projects with us, the availability of first class transportation facilities and ability to use the river, all were contributing factors to our final decision,” Kamran M. Khozan, Chairman and CEO, CVMR (USA) Inc., said. “But above all, the efficiency with which the State, county and city officials dealt with us and made us feel welcomed, made our final decision quite easy. It was an honour and a privilege for me to meet with Governor Bill Haslam. His style of leadership and efficiency of his government was a major positive influence in our final decision.”
“Oak Ridge is a community receptive to new technologies for manufacturing, innovative science, and industrial production,” Michael C. Hargett, President, CVMR (USA), said. “A combination of superior local resources, an ability to leverage cutting-edge knowledge, and emerging demand for high-performance products makes East Tennessee the place for the CVMR headquarters, manufacturing and production. This environment supports investment and further development of CVMR technologies.”
CVMR USA is a new company formed to use the technologies and metallurgical expertise of CVMR to address market demands for products manufactured from metal powders in the US. CVMR USA will refine and manufacture high-value metals and metal products directly from raw ore, scrap metals, concentrates and mattes.
CVMR plans to begin operating by the end of May 2015 and will transfer to Oak Ridge the production of advanced metal materials for a variety of industries, including aerospace, energy, automotive and medical devices. CVMR plans to quadruple its production capacity at the site over the next three years and will begin construction of additional facility in June 2015.
The Oak Ridge facility will house CVMR USA’s corporate headquarters, research and development, production of nano materials and metallurgical coating services, customer support, product development and planning for US production facilities. The CVMR Centre of Excellence for Innovation in Powder Metallurgy will collaborate with academic, industrial, government and businesses entities interested in the development of advanced materials and innovative technologies. The Centre will focus on production of new metallurgical products that can benefit the metal industry.
“Roane County is proud to welcome CVMR as our newest industry,” Roane County Executive Ron Woody said. “Having such an innovative company locate here strengthens and diversifies our economy and increases our impact on the rest of the world, which is already significant through our partners at the Department of Energy and our existing companies.”
“As Mayor of Oak Ridge, I want to be the first to welcome the CVMR world headquarters to Oak Ridge. CVMR’s location to Oak Ridge adds to the distinction of our community as a place of innovation and advanced composite discoveries for the world,” Oak Ridge City Mayor Warren Gooch said. “As we diversify our economy for additive manufacturing, CVMR is at the center of the world of 3D printing and advanced metallurgy. Oak Ridge will be by their side as a partner in establishing a hub for new technologies and advanced composite businesses for Oak Ridge and the region.”
"TVA and the Oak Ridge Electric Department congratulate CVMR Corporation on its announcement to locate and create hundreds of new jobs in Oak Ridge,” TVA senior vice president of Economic Development John Bradley said. “We are pleased to partner with the state of Tennessee, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the City of Oak Ridge, many Oak Ridge community leaders, and Roane County to facilitate CVMR’s new location decision.”
"We're welcoming CVMR to Tennessee because a lot of people worked together to show them our area's unique resources," Thom Mason, director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory and chairman of the regional Innovation Valley partnership, said. "ORNL's leadership in additive manufacturing is a perfect fit for CVMR, for instance. In partnership with Roane County, the city of Oak Ridge, TVA and others, we're seeing Tennessee build a manufacturing sector at the forefront of current technologies."
CVMR will immediately begin hiring people with experience as materials specialists, chemical technicians, product development, and those with advanced degrees in these particular areas.
Oak Ridge and Roane County are represented by Rep. Kent Calfee (R – Kingston), Rep. John Ragan (R – Oak Ridge), Sen. Randy McNally (R – Oak Ridge) and Sen. Ken Yager (R – Kingston) in the Tennessee General Assembly.
ORT: More on CVMR announcement
(Oak Ridge Today) A company that manufactures high-purity metal powders and super alloys is moving its operations to Oak Ridge from Toronto, Canada, and investing $313 million here and creating 620 jobs, officials said Friday.
CVMR, which has operations in 18 countries, will use the former Theragenics building at Horizon Center in west Oak Ridge for its headquarters and research and development. The company closed on that building, which is on 21 acres, on Friday, but executives declined to name the sale price.
The first employee was hired yesterday, said Kamran Khozan, chairman and chief executive officer of CVMR (USA) Incorporated.
The company could expand that 65,000-square-foot building; infrastructure that is already in place allows it to be doubled. The company could put 218 people to work right away in its new headquarters and add 402 high-paying (non-federal) manufacturing jobs later, a state official said.
“I can promise you that this is the start of a wave,” said Randy Boyd, the new commissioner of Tennessee Economic and Community Development.
The manufacturing facility could be built about two miles away on 25 acres at an old steam plant near the former K-25 site, now known as Heritage Center. That property is owned by the U.S. Department of Energy.
The news was announced early Friday afternoon at the new CVMR headquarters on Palladium Way in Horizon Center. Guests included local, state, and federal officials, and CVMR executives.
“This is obviously an exciting announcement for Oak Ridge and East Tennessee,” Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam said.
“We expect to be much bigger and invest much more in the next five years,” Khozan said.
He said there could be about 120 PhD researchers at the company’s new Oak Ridge headquarters.
CVMR executives said about five million tons of ores per year will be concentrated overseas in places such as the Phillipines, Indonesia, and African countries, and then shipped or sent by barge to Oak Ridge. About 10 percent of that, or about 500,000 tons could be processed in Oak Ridge.
CVMR USA Presidnet Michael Hargett said the company has commitments to manufacture by June 2015. Systems and equipment that are now in Toronto will be moved to Oak Ridge, he said.
CVMR uses the ore concentrates to create pure metal powders. Those then go to manufacturers that make parts for customers, such as NASA and the U.S. Department of Defense. CVMR works with 52 medal powders and produces about 34 unique products, using metal concentrates such as nickel, iron, and cobalt, and they can be used in batteries, 3D manufacturing, medical instruments, defense equipment, and the aerospace industry.
DOD is CVMR’s largest customer, but others include NASA, General Electric, and General Dynamics.
A state press release said a large part of the U.S. plant will be used to produce metal powers for 3D printing and graphene for advanced products.
There will be state incentives for the company, but Haslam said those haven’t been finalized yet.
Besides Boyd, Haslam, Khozan, and Hargett, speakers at Friday’s ceremony included Oak Ridge Mayor Warren Gooch, Roane County Executive Ron Woody, Congressman Chuck Fleischmann, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory Director Thom Mason.
Khozan said about 75 percent of metal parts use metal powders and alloys. And the industry is growing at about 26 percent in the United States, compared to 13.5 percent in China.
He said Tennessee has a business-friendly environment, cited the importance of Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee, and said the City of Oak Ridge has first-class infrastructure. Hargett said the labor force is also central; employees can work in a high-tech setting that complies with global standards, he said.
CVMR plans to begin operating by the end of May 2015 and will transfer to Oak Ridge the production of advanced metal materials for a variety of industries, including aerospace, energy, automotive and medical devices. CVMR plans to quadruple its production capacity at the site over the next three years and will begin construction of the additional facility in June 2015.
Feds, others celebrate UPF site-readiness
Federal officials and contractors celebrated the completion of site readiness work for the multi-billion dollar Uranium Processing Facility at the Y-12 National Security Complex on Friday morning. The UPF site readiness work includes a Bear Creek Road extension and the creation of a haul road. Officials say that site readiness is the first major step for the UPF. The $6.5 billion project is expected to be completed by 2025 and when finished, will represent the largest single construction project in state history. “Completion of this stage of the field work to prepare for building UPF signifies a move forward toward the National Nuclear Security Administration’s commitment to complete UPF and move out of the aging 9212 facility.” The Friday morning event featured a host of dignitaries, including NNSA Administrator General Frank Klotz; Congressman Chuck Fleischmann; Lieutenant Colonel John Hudson, commander of the Nashville District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; UPF Federal Project Director John Eschenberg; Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC President and CEO Jim Haynes; and UPF Project Director Brian Reilly. Upcoming UPF site readiness work includes more site infrastructure and services. CNS is preparing plans for other components of this key scope.
Frank, Phillips review 2014, preview 2015 financial picture
Thursday, Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank and Budget Director Chris Phillips released an overview of the county’s 2014 finances and provided a preview of this year’s budget cycle. You can read the op-ed piece in its entirety on our website’s Local Information News page, but some of the 2014 highlights included the county being identified as a low-risk auditee rather than high-risk for a second consecutive year and the undesignated fund balance being increased to $4 million. Frank and Phillips also noted that the minimum undesignated fund balance was increased by over $1.7 million in revenues over expenditures and that “tight spending practices helped Anderson County experience a year of surplus revenue over expenditures, and we continue to strive to limit debt.” Writing that, “while 2014 was another year of stability and continued improvement, there are challenges on the horizon. Reappraisals are expected to note a decline in some areas. A shrinking fund balance for our school system may result in cash-flow challenges that might require Tax Anticipation notes in years to come.” Frank and Phillips also say that a problem with a Medicare administrative contractor has created a significant cash-flow problem in the county EMS that will likely result in a budget shortfall of between $600,000 and $800,000. Basically, the problem has been created because the EMS, which is normally self-sufficient, is not being paid for answering 911 calls. Until the situation is corrected, EMS has implemented a spending freeze on all expenditures except for essential equipment, supplies, and payroll. County officials are working closely with Senator Alexander’s office in an effort to resolve the issues. Even with those difficulties, Frank and Phillips say the “tight spending practices” of government leaders has allowed “Anderson County to build [its] fund balance so that we are able to weather such a storm.” Again, you can read the entire op-ed summarizing 2014 and previewing 2015 on our website.
ORPD nabs sex offender near school after theft…from church
A convicted rapist with a violent past was arrested this week near an elementary school after the pastor at an Oak Ridge church Heritage Fellowship Church saw him steal mail from the church. Oak Ridge officers arrested 47-year-old Gregory Scott Tyree about half a mile from Heritage Fellowship Church near Willow Brook Elementary School on Robertsville Road. Investigators also recovered evidence near Robertsville Middle School with help from the pastor, who had followed Tyree after watching him take the mail. After Tyree was taken into custody on misdemeanor theft charges, officers discovered he was convicted in 1994 for aggravated rape and sexual battery. So, Wednesday, he was charged with violating the state sex offender registry law. Tyree is in custody at the Anderson County Jail.
Roane authorities apprehend Florida fugitive
A man wanted for aggravated assault in Florida was arrested in Kingston Friday morning. Roane County Sheriff’s deputies and Kingston Police officers arrested 20-year-old Chad Stallard. According to officers, Stallard led officers on a foot pursuit across Interstate 40 before he was taken into custody. He is currently being held in the Roane County Jail awaiting extradition back to Florida.
Reminder: Bingo for AC seniors 2nd Wednesday of the month
The Anderson County Office on Aging will be hosting a community bingo game on the second Wednesday of every month at Summit View Nursing Home in Rocky Top at 3 pm for those Anderson County residents who are 60 or older. There will be snacks provided and prizes given away.
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.
Smokies hosting competition for B&G Club members
The Tennessee Smokies will host a free Major League Baseball Pitch, Hit & Run Competition at Smokies Stadium in collaboration with Boys & Girls Club of the Smoky Mountains and Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley on Tuesday, March 17th at 4:00p.m. Pitch, Hit & Run is the official skills competition of Major League Baseball. This grassroots program is designed to provide Club members with an opportunity to compete, free of charge, in a competition that recognizes individual excellence in core baseball/softball skills. This competition is exclusively for Club members.
Boys and girls are divided into four age divisions: 7/8, 9/10, 11/12, 13/14 and have the chance to advance through four levels of competition, including Team Championships at major League ballparks and the National Finals at the 2015 MLB All-Star Game. The individual Pitching, Hitting and Running Competitions, along with the all-Around Champion in each age and gender group at the Local Competition will be awarded and advance to the Sectional Level of Competition.
ORT: Clark Center Park reopens
(Oak Ridge Today) Federal officials have finished significant cleanup work at Clark Center Park after the winter weather a few weeks ago, and they are re-opening the park. The DOE says workers have roped off one area of the 80-acre park where a large tree fell. They won’t be able to clear that area until the ground dries up. Also, one of the walking trails will remain closed for a bit more until workers remove debris. All other areas of the Park are open. Clark Center Park is in south Oak Ridge. It’s normally open all year, but federal officials temporarily closed it a few weeks ago to assess any damage to trees caused by recent ice and snow, and to give workers time to remove any potential risks, such as trees that were ready to fall.
ORT: OR schools have 2 snow days to make up
(Oak Ridge Today) According to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, the Oak Ridge school system used nine snow days this year but only needs to make up two. “As we have gone through the process of examining our snow day allocation, we discovered that, in addition to the three extra student instructional days we had built into our calendar, we were also entitled to three stockpiled snow days because of our longer school days as compared to state minimum requirements,” Chris Marczak, assistant superintendent of Oak Ridge Schools told ORT. He added, “The state acknowledged on March 9 that these three stockpiled snow days were due to Oak Ridge Schools for this school year and for future school years. We therefore have six total possible snow days, rather than three.” In addition to these six days, Oak Ridge was just awarded a waiver from the state for one additional snow day, meaning that only two days will need to be made up.
Nurse indicted in connection to AC inmate death
A nurse and former employee of a company providing medical services to inmates at the Anderson County Jail has been indicted on a felony charge of making a false report in connection to the death of a 34-year-old man while in custody at the jail last summer. 34-year-old Christopher Sullivan died on July 4th, just hours after being arrested on drug possession, public intoxication and contributing to the delinquency of a minor charges by Oak Ridge Police. According to a release from DA Dave Clark’s office, Sullivan appeared to be impaired but was “able to walk, talk, write and successfully [complete] the booking process.” He was then placed in a holding cell where he laid down on a bench and appeared to fall asleep. Three and a half hours later, a jailer tried to wake him and found Sullivan unresponsive. Despite the efforts of EMTs, Sullivan died and an autopsy later determined he had died from alcohol and morphine intoxication. The ACSD notified the DA’s office and the Coroner’s Office and also began its own internal probe into Sullivan’s death. The evidence was turned over to the DA’s Office, which took it to the grand jury. The grand jury indicted 49-year-old Billy Joe Brockman of Clinton on a Class D Felony charge of making a false report. The investigation determined that Brockman “unlawfully reported to…investigators that he had measured and recorded” Sullivan’s vital signs despite knowing that he had not. Videotape of the booking area reportedly shows that Brockman did not take or record Sullivan’s vital signs. At the time of Sullivan’s death, Brockman was employed with Advanced Correctional Healthcare Inc., which is contracted to provide medical services to county inmates. The DA’s office says it is believed he is no longer with that company. DA Dave Clark will refer this matter and all the evidence in the case to the State Nursing Board “for its consideration for action with respect to [Brockman’s] nursing license. Brockman was taken into custody by Sheriff’s deputies on Tuesday and released from the ACDF after posting a $100,000 bond. He will be arraigned in Criminal Court on March 30th.
1 killed, 2 hurt in Campbell crash
One person was killed and two people were injured Wednesday night in a two-vehicle accident in Campbell County and state troopers say that alcohol may have played a role. The Tennessee Highway Patrol reports that the accident happened just after 11:15 pm Wednesday when a 1999 Jeep Cherokee driven by 33-year-old Michael Kidd of Jellico failed to yield the right of way while attempting to turn on to State Highway 297 from Little Elk Creek Road and collided almost head-on with a 1995 Dodge Ram Pickup driven by 54-year-old Buford Trammell of Pioneer. The passenger in Kidd’s Jeep, identified as 33-year-old Della Foust of Rockholds, Kentucky, was killed in the crash while Kidd and Trammell were both injured. None of the three were wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash and the report indicates that Kidd had been drinking. Blood tests were ordered and the report indicates that charges and citations are pending. The conditions of the injured were not immediately available.
Ex-jailer indicted for assaulting inmate
A former Anderson County corrections officer has been indicted on a misdemeanor assault charge after he allegedly struck an inmate last fall. Dustin McCoig turned himself in on Wednesday on the charge contained in the indictment handed down last week and was released after posting bond. Inmate Joshua Bryant says that he was assaulted by McCoig on October 22, 2014 while he was incarcerated and McCoig was on duty. The Sheriff’s Department began an internal affairs investigation and turned the findings of that probe over to the DA’s office, which in turn presented the case to the Anderson County grand jury on March 3rd. He was indicted on a charge of assault, a Class A misdemeanor. McCoig, according to a release from the DA’s office was “separated from employment with the Sheriff’s Department” as a result of the investigation. DA Dave Clark said that while he is “disappointed that charges of this type have arisen from our local detention facility…I am pleased at the response of the Sheriff’s Department in policing itself…It is critical that law enforcement hold itself to appropriate standards to insure safety, justice and to preserve public confidence in our criminal justice system. Bryant remains in custody at the Jail, where he has been incarcerated since last June and McCoig will be arraigned March 30th in Criminal Court.
2 indicted on child sex abuse charges
Two people have been arrested in the past two days on separate, unrelated cases of child sexual abuse after indictments were handed down last week by the Anderson County Grand Jury. 44-year-old Gerald Wayne Condon of Maryville and 50-year-old Roger Dale Lindsay of Clinton were charged after investigations by the Sheriff’s Criminal Investigations Unit. Condon was indicted on twenty-five (25) counts of child sexual abuse offenses on one underage victim that occurred over the last four years. He faces five counts each of Rape; Statutory Rape By Authority Figure; Sexual Battery by an Authority Figure; Sale, Loan, Or Exhibition of Material To Minors and Incest. Condon was arrested on Tuesday, March 10, and released after posting $100,000.00 bond.
Lindsay was indicted on eighteen (18) counts of child sexual abuse offenses on two underage victims that occurred over the last six years. Lindsay was indicted on six counts each of Sexual Battery by an Authority Figure and Incest, five counts of Rape of a Child and one count of Statutory Rape by an Authority Figure. He was arrested Wednesday, March 11, and is currently in jail on $100,000.00 bond. Both of these cases were recently reported to the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department and were presented to the Anderson County Grand Jury after investigation. Due to the age of the victims, the identity and relationship to the offenders and other information can not be released at this time.
Merle welcomes Ed Brantley to the Radio Ranch
Merle 96.7 (WMYL/Knoxville) today announced the addition of Ed Brantley. Ed brings four decades of leadership in East Tennessee radio and is a member of The Knox County Commission. Says Merle FM managing partner Ron Meredith, “We couldn’t be more pleased to have Ed Brantley at Merle FM. He has extensive experience and success in all aspects of country music radio and will help this company grow a great deal in every facet of our operation.”
“Merle FM is a high-quality operation from the ground up,” said Brantley. “Merle sounds great, and it keeps strong relationships within the community among both listeners and advertisers. I am excited to begin working with the staff using the knowledge, experience, and relationships formed over the years and help move Merle FM to the next level. I’m honored at the warm welcome here and ready to get started.”
Brantley’s opportunities at Merle will include consulting on all departments within the station including programming, community relations, and advertising sales. He was on the air at WIVK for 27 years, being voted #1 afternoon radio personality in America and later became its sales manager and general manager. He managed five stations overseeing a staff of more than one hundred with annual revenues of eight figures. He became General Manager and morning show host at WNOX where he dealt daily with the needs of the people of Knox County and East Tennessee. Ed started Coats for the Cold, and The Knoxville Award and has served United Way, Boys
and Girls Clubs, and Senior Citizens Home Assistance Service and others.
Merle FM 96.7 signed on in 2007. It is now the highest rated and most successful locally-owned radio station in the Knoxville market. With the addition of afternoon drive host now partner Jack Ryan in 2012 Merle FM accelerated the climb to the top of Knoxville’s Radio market. Now, with the addition of Ed Brantley, the Merle FM staff will have more than 150 years of combined broadcasting experience and will work to become Knoxville’s number one radio station. Merle FM was nominated Station of The Year by The Academy of Country Music in 2012 along with Jack Ryan as Air Personality of The Year. Its Big D and Bubba morning show recently won Air Personality of The Year and will receive its award next month in Dallas at The ACM Awards Show.
Meredith also owns WYSH AM 1380/FM 101.1 in Clinton. WYSH is Anderson County’s top-rated radio station, reaching half-again more Anderson Countians than the next highest rated Knoxville station. He has hosted WYSH’s Country Club Morning Show for over 25 years of that station’s 55 year history. Ron is an active supporter of Anderson County and its public initiatives as part of his role as owner of WYSH. He was a key supporter of Stan Brock’s Remote Area Medical efforts in the area.
“I’ve been blessed,” says Meredith on the station format he designed, “There are a lot of people that like Blake Shelton but still want to hear Willie Nelson. They tune in. They like what they hear, and they stay. I’m honored that so many great people want to be a part of it.”
Op-Ed: AC Mayor, Budget Director review 2014, look ahead
(Mayor Terry Frank & Budget Director Chris Phillips) [Anderson County] recently finished its Popular Annual Financial Report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014, and we wanted to share a snapshot of Anderson County’s financial health. While there are many factors that go into evaluating our county’s overall ability to promote prosperity for the people of our county, our financial health as a county government has a direct impact on the lives of families who live here and the business and industry that operates here.
Noteworthy accomplishments from 2014:
While 2014 was another year of stability and continued improvement, there are challenges on the horizon. Reappraisals are expected to note a decline in some areas. A shrinking fund balance for our school system may result in cash-flow challenges that might require Tax Anticipation notes in years to come. Interest on Tax Anticipation notes cuts into normal operational funds, and is therefore a measure we take only when there are no other options.
A major challenge has recently developed with Emergency Medical Services and will impact this year’s budget as we close out the year and move into next year. Currently, we are facing challenges with a Medicare Administrative Contractor and the processing of documentation related to submission of our 911 Emergency calls. This processing issue has created substantial cash-flow problems as the county has not received the revenue for services billed. To alleviate the problem, EMS has worked with us on a spending freeze on all expenditures except essential equipment, supplies, and payroll. We are working closely with Senator Alexander’s office and thank them for assisting us in an effort to resolve the issues. However, in the short term, Anderson County EMS will be seeing a $600,000 to $800,000 shortfall by the year end, meaning Anderson County will have to address the shortfall until the issues are resolved and the revenues are finally received. To boil the issue down, the financial challenge is the result of not being paid for answering 911 calls.
Tight spending practices by your government leaders over the last few years have enabled Anderson County to build our fund balance so that we are able to weather such a storm. Prudence and fiscal discipline have enabled us to see an increase in bond ratings and climb out of our problem of limited reserves, but obviously with the challenges ahead, there is no time to rest.
As we enter the budget season, please know we will remain committed to fiscal discipline and serving Anderson County in the best, most responsible way. Anderson County is in good health, but we must stay committed. We take seriously our responsibility to manage your tax dollars.
TDOT aims to fix potholes
(TDOT) A series of brutal winter storms followed by heavy rainfall amounts have created an abundance of potholes along Tennessee’s interstates and state highways. With warmer temperatures in the forecast over the coming days, TDOT is launching a massive effort using all available manpower to repair the damaged areas as quickly as possible.
Multiple 5-6 man crews in each of TDOT’s four regions will be patching potholes over the coming days and weeks. Cold mix asphalt is currently being used for repairs. As weather allows, these crews will be making every attempt to use hot mix asphalt which results in a more permanent repair. Full scale paving will be necessary in many locations. Some crews will be assigned to interstates while others will focus on state routes.
Please note – inclement weather, emergency repairs or incidents may disrupt daily schedules. TDOT does not count potholes, keep a tally of how many potholes have been repaired or the cost of repairs per pothole. These repairs are part of normal highway maintenance operations. For the next few weeks, daily pothole patching schedules for each region will be posted at www.tdot.state.tn.us/maintenance/potholes.htm.
Motorists should be prepared for short term traffic delays during these repair operations. While every effort will be made to perform repairs during off-peak travel times (9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. weekdays), some lane closures may extend into the late afternoon, evening, and weekends. We ask drivers to be patient and to watch out for TDOT crews on interstates and state highways. Motorists can alert TDOT to potholes via email at TDOT.Comments@tn.gov or by phone at 1-877-SmartWay.
Rain washes away part of Laurel Falls Trail in GSMNP
(GSMNP) Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced the temporary closure of Laurel Falls Trail due to storm damage. The park has received a significant amount of rain over the past week. The rain comes after several ice and snow storms had already saturated the soil. On Wednesday afternoon, a park volunteer discovered a portion of the trail just before the falls had washed out. “Our trail crews are experienced with these kinds of washouts and will work to make the necessary repairs so that the Laurel Falls Trail, one of our most popular in the park, can be safely reopened for hikers,” said Trails Program Manager Tobias Miller. Trail crews will assess the condition of the trail and make a plan for repairs. Once those determinations are made, the park will announce an expected reopening date. For more information on road and trail closures, please visit the park website at http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/temproadclose.htm.
IRS phone scam rears head in AC again
An IRS phone scam we told you about earlier this year has been reported once again in Anderson County. The Sheriff’s Department says that scammers are making calls threatening arrest for not paying taxes or similar ploys to obtain money from unsuspecting citizens. The Anderson County Sheriff's Department warns everyone not to fall victim to these frauds and scams.
For more information on this scam please visit:
Snow day waivers granted to AC, Clinton schools
At least two local school districts will not have to make up all of the extra days of school they missed due to last month’s winter storms. Dozens of systems used more snow days than they had built into their 2014-2015 calendar. The state requires schools to have 180 instructional days every year, and in most cases, they would have to find ways to make up those unexpected days out of the classroom. However, because the storms resulted in Governor Haslam declaring a State of Emergency, schools were allowed to apply for a waiver of up to three instructional days. The deadline for those requests is March 31. So far, the commissioner of education has granted snow day waivers for more than a dozen districts in our area, including Anderson County, which had three days waived and the Clinton City Schools, which was granted a waiver for two days.
Learn more about Main Street OR Monday
There will be a presentation on Main Street Oak Ridge, the redevelopment of the former Oak Ridge Mall, during a Monday evening meeting. The joint meeting will include the Oak Ridge Municipal Planning Commission and the Traffic Safety Advisory Board. It starts at 5:30 p.m. Monday, March 16, in the Oak Ridge Municipal Building Courtroom. The presentation will be given by Crosland Southeast, the North Carolina-based company that has proposed the redevelopment, and Cannon and Cannon Engineering. Ray Evans, the city’s retail consultant, said Cannon and Cannon submitted a request on Monday to rezone the property to UB-2 (a unified general business district) with a planned unit development, or PUD, overlay. The Planning Commission is expected to consider that request on March 26, and the Oak Ridge City Council could consider it in April. In late February, James Downs of Crosland Southeast said leasing, financing, and pre-construction work on the project is progressing as planned. A change to the city’s zoning ordinance approved by the Oak Ridge City Council in the first of two monthly readings on Monday will help the redevelopment.
Tennessee 4-H has new leader
(UTIA) A life-long educator, Richard Clark is dedicating his career to giving young people in Tennessee every opportunity to grow and succeed. It starts as early as the fourth grade and continues through the college years. Clark recently started work at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture as the new leader of Tennessee 4-H, the youth development program for UT Extension, and Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication (ALEC), a department in the Institute’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. These two units – service-oriented and academic – have been merged in an effort to better serve Tennessee youth.
“I’ve been involved in 4-H and ag education in some capacity for almost my entire career,” says Clark. “The new department of 4-H and ALEC has the opportunity to serve as a model for other universities for impacting the lives of young people from elementary school through college. 4-H and ALEC have a common, underlying youth development and education knowledge base which makes this merger ideal.”
Clark’s main responsibilities will be providing leadership to the state 4-H staff in Knoxville and county 4-H agents all across the state. He will also serve in an academic capacity, developing curriculum for faculty and students here at UTIA.
“My first goal is to inspire students of all ages to reach for their dreams and empower them with the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful in life,” says Clark. “The second goal is for the department to become a national leader in scholarship related to youth development in both non-formal and formal education. We will continue to engage in cutting-edge research and showcase innovation in university teaching and in outreach through 4-H.”
“Dr. Clark brings a diverse background and experiences that make him an
ideal leader for our new 4-H/ALEC Department,” says UTIA Chancellor
Larry Arrington. “This newly created department pulls together all of
our faculty and staff working in the areas of youth development and
leadership. This will allow UTIA to better serve the state of Tennessee
– including 4-H and FFA programs throughout the state.”
AC man faces rape charges
A Clinton man was indicted last week by an Anderson County grand jury on charges that he sexually assaulted a girl between the ages of 13 and 18 last year. 59-year-old Rockie Williams was arrested Sunday on charges of rape and aggravated statutory rape in connection to the incident, which is alleged to have occurred in late November 2014. As of this morning, Williams remained in custody at the Anderson County Jail. He is due in court for an arraignment on March 30th.
OR schools present budget request
The Oak Ridge school system’s proposed budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1st asks for an additional $2.7 million over the current budget, a request that would require the equivalent of a 23-cent property tax rate increase in order to fully fund. The proposed budget was revealed to City Council budget committee members on Tuesday and includes three percent salary increases for employees. Last year, the schools asked for what would have amounted to a 37-cent tax increase but received no new, additional funding. The budget request, which is still in its early stages, also includes funding for a program aimed at getting tablets in to students’ hands, funding for the addition of eight new full-time employees and funding to erase a deficit of over $658,000. The school board and city council will continue to meet over the next few months to fine-tune the budget, which will likely be voted on by the Oak Ridge City Council sometime in June.
Y-12 trio to appeal convictions
The three anti-nuclear activists convicted of sabotage and damaging the exterior of a Y-12 uranium facility in July 2012 will seek Thursday to convince a federal appeals court that their convictions should be overturned. Attorneys for Sister Megan Rice, Michael Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed argue in court documents that the sabotage charge was government overreach that should not have been applied for the activists' symbolic, nonviolent actions. They also object to a prosecutors' invocation of 9/11 during closing arguments. Early on the morning of July 28, 2012, the three illegally entered a secure area where the U.S. keeps most of its bomb-grade uranium. Despite setting off alarms, they were able to spend more than two hours inside the restricted area before they were arrested. They spray-painted slogans such as "the fruit of justice is peace" on the exterior walls of the $548 million Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge. They also splattered the walls with blood and they hammered on the exterior wall. Thursday's hearing will be before the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. The trio was tried and convicted in U.S. District Court in Knoxville. Attorneys argue what the trio did does not amount to true sabotage. In addition, they say what the three did did not threaten national security. They also argue federal prosecutors went too far in seeking charges against their clients. The government argues in court documents that the activists can be charged with sabotage because they "intended to injure, interfere with, or obstruct the national defense." Prosecutors say the activists own statements attest to this. At trial and at sentencing, they said their goal was nuclear disarmament, and they hoped their actions would somehow bring that about. Prosecutors also argue that Y-12 is critical to the national defense. Because of the break-in, all nuclear operations at the site were suspended for 15 days. In addition, the intrusion damaged Y-12's reputation as the "Fort Knox of uranium."
Norris Lake Cleanup coming March 28th
The Norris Lake Project Team is looking for volunteers to help with the 5th biannual Five County Norris Lake Cleanup on March 28, 2015 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“Since 2011, volunteers from the counties surrounding Norris Lake have picked up over 15 tons of trash,” said Stephanie Wells, Director of the Anderson County Tourism Council. “We continue to conduct two cleanups each year because Norris Lake is not only a recreational destination for residents and visitors, it is an economic driver for all five counties and we need to protect its shorelines.”
There will be several launch points in each of the five counties and numerous locations that volunteers can help by picking up and properly disposing of in trash.
There will be boats available to shuttle volunteers to and from the cleanup sites and barges will be used to transfer the trash back to the shore. However, volunteers are welcome to bring their own boats. All volunteers are encouraged to wear appropriate shoes, preferably boots, bring gloves and bring a life jacket.
“We conduct these cleanups to not only clean up the illegally dumped trash but to also raise public awareness,” said Julie Graham, Executive Director of East Tennessee Quality Growth. “We want to encourage boaters, campers and other users of the lake to dispose of their trash properly and eliminate the need for these cleanups.”
The Norris Lake Project Team is a grassroots effort of individuals, organizations, businesses and agencies to preserve the water quality of Norris Lake, conserve the land surrounding the lake and encourage the stakeholders of the lake to do their part in keeping Norris Lake the cleanest and safest recreational asset in Anderson, Campbell, Claiborne, Grainger and Union Counties.
If you are interested in volunteering, visit www.norrislakeproject.com to find a location near you, to register and get more information. Volunteers can also register the morning of March 28th. Please note that minors must be accompanied by an adult and have a registration and release form signed by a parent. You can also call toll free to 800-524-3602 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The Norris Lake Project Team is a partnership with the Anderson County Tourism Council, Campbell County Chamber of Commerce, Claiborne County Chamber of Commerce, Grainger County Chamber of Commerce, Union County chamber of Commerce, Norris Lake Marina Association, East Tennessee Quality Growth, Tennessee Valley Authority, Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Norris Dam State Park, Big Ridge State Park, Keep Union County Beautiful, Anderson County Litter Grant, Sunset Bay HOA, Hickory Point HOA, Norris Shores HOA, Lone Mountain HOA and Narrow Ridge Earth Literacy Center.
ORT: OR Council to meet March 27th, discuss police probe
(Oak Ridge Today) Despite concerns about the timing, the Oak Ridge City Council later this month will consider steps that could be used to help review the turnover, morale, and administrative policies in the Oak Ridge Police Department. City Council members Trina Baughn and Rick Chinn requested the special meeting, and they asked that it be held at 6 p.m. Friday, March 27. They said the meeting could be used to discuss and vote on the parameters of a probe and possibly select someone to conduct it. The two members also want the Council to consider the merits, and possibly vote on, placing Oak Ridge Police Chief Jim Akagi on administrative leave while the investigation is ongoing.
Oak Ridge Mayor Warren Gooch expressed concern about having the special meeting that week because officials from the National Park Service and the U.S. Department of Energy are expected to be in town. Gooch, who would prefer to discuss the issues in a regular meeting, said he thought it would be a mistake to have a special meeting like this that could interfere with the visit by NPS and DOE officials. Oak Ridge is part of a new three-site Manhattan Project National Historical Park that was created by Congress last year and signed into law by President Barack Obama. It’s something that Oak Ridge officials and volunteers, among others, have worked on and supported for more than a decade. National Park Service spokesman Bill Reynolds said NPS officials are scheduled to arrive Tuesday, March 24, and could remain through Thursday or Friday that week. It only takes two Council members to call a special meeting, meaning the full City Council does not have to vote on it. Read much more on this story by visiting our partners at www.oakridgetoday.com.
GSMNP seeks volunteers
(GSMNP) Great Smoky Mountains National Park is recruiting volunteers to help provide visitor information at Clingmans Dome. The information center sits at 6,300 feet in elevation providing a unique opportunity for park volunteers to assist in educating visitors about high-elevation spruce-fir forests, while also providing recreational, trip planning, and directional information. The information center, constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps, originally served as a comfort station, but was converted into a seasonal information center in 2010. The center also includes a bookstore area managed by the Great Smoky Mountains Association (GSMA) offering visitors the opportunity to purchase guides and maps, outdoor apparel, and other GSMA products. Volunteers will work alongside GSMA employees. Each volunteer is asked to work one four-hour shift per week from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. April 1 through November 30, 2015. New volunteers must attend two orientation sessions focusing on resource interpretation and working with the public. At each training guest speakers will share unique biological and historical information to help volunteers learn more about the Clingmans Dome area. The first training session will be held at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center training room near Cherokee, NC on Friday, March 20 from 10:00 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. The second training session will be held at the Sugarlands Center training room near Gatlinburg, TN on Friday, March 27 from 9:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Volunteers must RVSP for training sessions and bring a lunch.
Alexander holds line on UPF budget, timeframe
(Sen. Alexander’s office) U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the top Republican on energy appropriations, today (3/11) held a hearing on the National Nuclear Security Agency’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2016, in which he said there “is a lot more work to be done” to keep large government construction projects, such as the Uranium Processing Facility in (Oak Ridge) Tennessee, on time and on budget as he and other senators work to fund critical defense priorities.
“Construction of the Uranium Processing Facility’s uranium buildings isn’t supposed to begin until the buildings are at 90 percent design, the project isn’t supposed to exceed $6.5 billion, and it needs to be completed by 2025,” Alexander, chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy & Water Development, said in a statement. “That’s the agreement.”
At the subcommittee hearing today, Alexander cited the Uranium Processing Facility at Y-12 in Tennessee, the MOX Fuel Fabrication Facility in South Carolina and the Plutonium Facility in New Mexico – which combined could cost as much as $20 billion – as projects he wants to help keep on time and on budget. He also cited as major priorities effectively maintaining the country’s nuclear weapons stockpile and supporting the nuclear Navy.
Alexander continued, “The National Nuclear Security Administration has an important national security mission, but faces many challenges. That’s why we need to do what we were sent here to do – to govern. Governing is about setting priorities, and we are going to have to make some hard decisions this year to make sure the highest priorities are funded.”
Johnson Gap Road bridge back open
The bridge on Johnson Gap Road in Anderson County’s Dutch Valley community is back open today, a year and a half after it was shut down due to safety concerns. State inspectors ordered the 100-year-old wooden bridge closed in July of 2013 after finding that the wooden support structures were compromised and posed a safety hazard. The bridge owned by CSX Railroad is the primary shortcut that Dutch Valley residents use to get to and from Clinton and Oak Ridge and the shutdown frustrated many. Last year, the railroad offered Anderson County leaders two options for getting the bridge back open. The first option was to give the bridge to the county and have the local government replace the bridge at county expense and the second option was to allow the railroad to repair the bridge and bring it back up to code at the company’s expense. The County Commission went with option number two, but the frustration continued to mount as CSX would give officials a tentative start date but then push that date back, blaming labor and other internal company problems. Work to repair the bridge finally got underway last month and, again, has paid off as the Johnson Gap Road bridge is once again open to traffic.
2 indicted in social media-based assault, robbery
Two Clinton men have been indicted on charges they posed as a woman on a social media site and lured a man to a meeting where they are then accused of attacking him with a baseball ball bat and a hammer, and stealing his cash, cell phone and wallet. 20-year-old Kavonte Jamar Carson and 19-year-old Shawn Dillon Summers were indicted last week on charges of aggravated robbery, aggravated kidnapping, auto burglary and theft. The men are charged with using text messages to lure a 19-year-old man to what turned out to be a bogus address in the Marlow community. When the victim arrived, he tried to find the address and, after failing to do so, was walking back to his vehicle when Carson is accused of hitting him in the lower back with a baseball bat, forcing him to the ground. Summers is then accused of striking the man in the back of the head with a hammer and ordering him to empty his pockets. The men allegedly rummaged through the victim’s car and stole his wallet before fleeing into nearby woods.
AC government to hold Vendor Breakfast March 24th
The Anderson County Government Purchasing Department will be hosting a free Vendor Breakfast for Anderson County Business Owners, on Tuesday, March 24, 2015 at 8:30 a.m. The breakfast will be held at the “205 Main” banquet facility, located at 205 S. Main Street, Clinton, TN. The target audience is business owners and the aim is twofold:
1.) to get Anderson County vendors familiar with the county’s purchasing process.
2.) to get vendors registered to do business through Vendor Registry.
The breakfast is geared toward local, Anderson County-based businesses so that procurement dollars can be reinvested back into the local economy. If your company is interested in attending please contact Sheila Davis at 457-6218, or email at email@example.com.
ASAP breaks down cost of substance abuse
(ASAP guest column) Studies show the cost of substance abuse in the U.S. is over $500 Billion dollars. These figures include the impact of tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drug use and include resource and productivity costs. Two local anti-drug coalitions were interested in finding out how much substance abuse costs the local taxpayer in Tennessee and how much of that money could be saved by investing in substance abuse prevention.
Over the past 7 months, Stephanie Strutner, Executive Director-ASAP, Sarah Harrison, Executive Director- RCADC, Wayne Stephenson Ph.D., and Stacey Pratt, Project Coordinator-ASAP, have spent over 400 hours researching the cost of substance abuse and the financial benefit of prevention. The project found that $3,023,687,696 of taxpayer funding is spent in Tennessee “shoveling-up” the costs of the failure to prevent substance abuse. The good news is the project also found that for every $1 invested in substance abuse prevention at the state level $4.60 can be saved in burden spending. The benefit of local tax dollar investment in prevention is even greater at a savings of $16.76 in Anderson County and $14.66 in Roane County.
The authors of the report were invited to present their findings at the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America’s National Leadership Forum in Washington, D.C. on February 3, 2015. More than 100 people attended the session to learn how this research can be adapted for their own localities. This knowledge helps Anti-Drug Coalitions plan for the future and ensure that investments made to substance abuse prevention are being responsibly spent, having a positive outcome on their community, and saving taxpayer money from having to be used to clean up the mess substance abuse can leave behind.
For more information about the project or to find out more about local Anti-Drug Coalitions call 865-457-3007 or visit www.ASAPofAnderson.org.
ORT: OR Council approves Main Street OR rezoning
(Oak Ridge Today) Leasing, financing, and pre-construction work on the Main Street Oak Ridge project is progressing as planned, a developer said in late February, and a change to the city’s zoning ordinance approved on Monday will help the redevelopment.
Crosland Southeast hopes to start construction late in the second quarter of 2015. It’s part of a plan to have a grand opening in the fall of 2016. Survey crews from Cannon and Cannon have completed a boundary survey of the 60-acre site, the former Oak Ridge Mall, and field work is under way, said Ray Evans, the city’s retail consultant.
The amendment of the city’s zoning ordinance had been recommended by the Oak Ridge Municipal Planning Commission in February. It allows multifamily units in what is known as UB-2 zone, a unified general business district. The City Council approved the ordinance change in the first of two monthly readings on Monday.
Evans said Cannon and Cannon submitted a request on Monday to rezone the property to UB-2 with a planned unit development, or PUD, overlay. The Planning Commission is expected to consider the request on March 26, and Council could consider it in April. Evans said the UB-2 zoning with the PUD overlay gives Crosland Southeast, the company that has proposed the complex redevelopment, flexibility for lot lines, configurations, setbacks, and uses. It allows multifamily and retail in the same zone, among other uses.
Evans said ORNL Federal Credit Union, one of the local lenders that had hoped to help with the tax increment financing, or TIF, loan of the project is not able to participate. But a local lending group led by David Bradshaw is pulling together that lending portion without ORNL FCU, Evans said.
ORT: Man demands tours of fed facilities, arrested
(Oak Ridge Today) A California man was arrested by Oak Ridge police and questioned by federal agents after he demanded tours of the New Hope Center at the Y-12 National Security Complex and Oak Ridge National Laboratory on Friday evening. The Oak Ridge Police Department responded to the call at about 6:22 p.m. Friday. A man had been found trying to get into the New Hope Center through a rear door. An employee at the New Hope Center confronted the man, who demanded a tour of the building. After he was denied a tour, the man reportedly left the area in a maroon-colored Jeep sport utility vehicle bearing a Texas license plate. ORPD officers converged on the area in search of the vehicle and man. Within 15 minutes, they located the vehicle on Bethel Valley Road at the east portal of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory after it was stopped by ORNL security officers. After being stopped, the driver demanded a tour of ORNL.
ORPD officers detained the driver, identified as 24-year-old Rishi Chatterjee Malakar of Fremont, California, for investigation. It was determined that Malakar’s California driver’s license was suspended, and he was subsequently arrested Malakar was transported to ORPD Headquarters, where he was interviewed by special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Energy Inspector General’s Office. Malakar was later transported to the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton on a charge of driving with a suspended license. He remained in custody as of this morning on a bond of $1000.
A little bit of shaking going on
A small earthquake rattled Roane County Sunday afternoon. The 2.5 tremblor happened at 1:35 p.m., according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The epicenter was located about seven miles east southeast of Kingston. Officials haven't taken any reports of damage.
AC Library Board meets March 19
The Anderson County Library Board will meet on Thursday, March 19th at 4 p.m. at the Briceville Public Library.
THP: Snow, slush factors in fatal Campbell wreck
An Indiana man was killed in a two-vehicle crash Thursday morning on I-75 in Campbell County. The THP reports that 69-year-old Jerry Crutcher of Cambridge City, Indiana had been headed south on I-75 shortly before 11 am when he lost control of his RV due to snow and slush on the roadway near mile marker 145. The RV, which was towing a Chevy Blazer, left the roadway, crossed the median and struck the cable barrier before turning over in the northbound lanes of the interstate, where a Chevy HHR driven by Henry Britt of Columbus, Ohio was unable to avoid contact and hit the motor home. Jerry Crutcher was not wearing a seatbelt and died in the crash, while his wife Ann, who was asleep in the rear of the RV, was injured. Henry Britt and his passenger, Betty Britt, both of whom were wearing seatbelts, were also injured in the crash. The conditions of the injured have not been released. No charges were filed and no citations issued in connection to the accident.
ACS to celebrate completion of energy efficiency project
(AC Schools) The Anderson County Board of Education will be holding an open house and green ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of a $9.7 million energy efficiency and building modernization project with Energy Systems Group (ESG), a leading energy service provider. The seventeen county schools received energy improvements including upgrades to heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems, electrical systems, new windows, energy efficient lights, water conservation measures, advanced energy management controls and new suspended ceiling systems. The comprehensive project is creating over $620,000 per year in energy savings along with other maintenance and operations savings impacts. “This partnership with ESG has allowed the school system to address significant facility upgrade needs which enhance the safety and quality of the learning environment while contributing toward our goals for environmental stewardship. It is important to note that this is a sound economic decision as well. The savings from energy reduction will more than pay for implementation,” said Larry Foster, Director of Schools. In addition to the substantial energy savings impacts and critical upgrades to the learning environment, the project is also providing environmental benefits equivalent to the following: • Removal of emissions equivalent to over 900 cars per year, or • Planting over 1,600 acres of forest annually, or • Conserving enough energy to power more than 650 homes per year Even though there were many schools impacted by the improvements, the open house and green ribbon cutting ceremony will take place on Thursday March 12, 2015 from 5:30 till 6:30 pm at Briceville Elementary School, 103 Slatestone Rd., Briceville, TN 37710.
ORT: 3 cars go up in flames
(Oak Ridge Today) It took Oak Ridge firefighters about 40 minutes to control a carport fire that destroyed three cars and involved about 50 gallons of gasoline on Hampshire Circle early Thursday morning. The Oak Ridge Fire Department responded to the fire at 2:44 am. The first firefighters on the scene reported that three cars under the carport were engulfed in flames and while they worked quickly to extinguish the blaze, their efforts were complicated by the approximately 50 gallons of gasoline in the fuel tanks of the vehicles. Firefighters tried to contain the fire and burning gasoline to the carport area to prevent any run-off into a nearby creek and storm drains, the release said. The three cars were destroyed. A nearby car and some windows on an adjacent multi-family residence were damaged during the fire. There were no injuries reported, and the cause of the fire is still under investigation.
CHS anglers qualify for BASS tounrey
Clinton High School fishermen Ryan Winchester and Justin Burris recently placed 5th in a national tournament in Birmingham, Alabama out of over 200 teams. That means they have qualified for the national BASS tournament again this summer.
Poneman named CEO of Centrus
(Centrus) Daniel B. Poneman, former deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy, has been picked to be president and chief executive officer of Centrus Energy Corporation. Centrus was formerly known as USEC Incorporated, and it has operations in Oak Ridge. The selection of Poneman by the Centrus Board of Directors was announced Thursday. Poneman will join Centrus immediately and become the chief executive later this month. He will also be a member of the board.
Centrus Energy Corporation supplies enriched uranium fuel for a growing fleet of international and domestic commercial nuclear power plants. The company said it is working to deploy the American Centrifuge technology for commercial needs and to support U.S. energy and national security. Centrus announced last fall that it had emerged from a Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In January, the company announced that UT-Battelle, the contractor that operates Oak Ridge National Laboratory, had added another six months to an agreement being used to develop new uranium-enrichment technology through Centrus operations in Oak Ridge and Piketon, Ohio. By exercising that option, UT-Battelle extended the American Centrifuge Technology Demonstration and Operations Agreement, or ACTDO Agreement, from March 31 to September 30, 2015. ORNL had previously exercised an option to extend the agreement through March 31, 2015.
GSMNP: All streams in the park open for fishing
(GSMNP) Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced the reopening of Lynn Camp Prong to fishing effective March 6, 2015 following a seven-year native, brook trout restoration project. The reopening of the 8.5 mile-stream sections marks the first time, since the park’s establishment in 1934, that all streams in the park are open to fishing.
By preserving a healthy, reproducing population of brook trout, the park not only ensures the long-term protection of a unique species, but also the opportunity for future generations to experience and preserve the Southern Appalachian tradition, heritage, and culture associated with brook trout fishing. Southern Appalachian brook trout are the only trout species native to the southern Appalachian Mountains and are genetically unique from brook trout found north of New River, VA. In the southeast, less than 5% of all areas formerly occupied by brook trout prior to European settlement remain. Select park streams provide a unique opportunity to restore, protect, and preserve native brook trout habitat for the entire region.
“The opening of all streams in the park to recreational fishing marks an incredible milestone for the park and speaks to the commitment and dedication of our biologists and partners in restoring fish populations in the Smokies,” said Park Superintendent Cassius Cash.
The park has 2,900 miles of streams, of which an estimated 20% are large enough to support trout populations. Rainbow trout occupy 15.2% of these streams followed by brook trout which are found in 8.6% of the streams and brown trout which are found in 4.6% of the streams. Brook trout lost 75% of their former range in the park after prolific logging in the early 1900s left streams silted and degraded. Throughout the early part of the 20th century, non-native rainbow and brown trout were introduced to park streams to provide fishing opportunities. These trout quickly outcompeted and displaced native brook trout throughout many park streams. In the last 30 years, acid rain has further reduced trout populations at elevations above 3,000 feet due to low stream pH. Since 1986, park biologists have restored brook trout to 27.1 miles of 11 different streams in the park greatly expanding their range. These restoration efforts were made possible with support from hundreds of local volunteers and including volunteer groups such as Trout Unlimited, Federation of Fly Fishers, Friends of the Smokies, and local universities.
Using data from long-term monitoring and a recent study, fisheries biologists have determined that recreational fishing under current park regulations has no population level effect on brook trout populations (http://www.nps.gov/grsm/naturescience/upload/fishing-study.pdf). In addition to fish restoration projects, park biologists are also working hard to improve water quality across park streams. Continued efforts to improve water quality and restore native fish populations will expand habitat for all fish species and these fish-bearing streams will provide a unique mountain fishing experience for visitors of all ages well into the future. For more information about the fisheries program in the park, please visit the park website at http://www.nps.gov/grsm/naturescience/fish.htm .
Current park fishing regulations include a 7-inch size limit, 5 fish possession limit and the use of single hook, artificial lures only. For more information about fishing regulations, please visit the park website at (http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/fishing.htm).
OR conducting stormwater system survey
As a requirement of the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System—or MS4—Program mandated by the state’s Department of Environment and Conservation, the Oak Ridge Public Works Department is conducting am inventory of the city’s stormwater system. According to the Tennessee Municipal League, the survey requires documenting all facets of the stormwater system including, but not limited to streams, ditches, pipe inlets and outlets, catch basins and detention basins and could take several years to complete. To conduct the survey, the city has partnered with UT and Roane State to utilize interns enrolled in environmental sciences and GIS programs. The students will be driving marked city vehicles and carry ID badges, and, according to the TML, will never need to enter a home or business as part of the survey. Right now, the interns are working Mondays through Thursdays each week.
5 ET teams headed to boys’ state tourney
Five East Tennessee high school basketball teams qualified for the state tournament in Murfreesboro next week with victories in sectional round play Tuesday. In Class AAA, Tee Higgins capped a 14-point scoring night with two clutch free throws with five seconds to play and Javien Johnson blocked a potentially game-tying basket as time expired to give Oak Ridge a 55-53 win at Science Hill. The Wildcats are headed back to state for the second straight year and will open play against Bolton on Wednesday March 11th. Maryville will be joining Oak Ridge at state as they handled Dobyns-Bennett 74-58 and will play defending champion Blackman on the 11th. In Class AA, Fulton beat Elizabethton 64-50 and will face Creek Wood on Thursday March 12th in a quarterfinal game. Carter eliminated Greeneville 85-71 and will face Haywood on March 12th at MTSU. In Class A action, Grace Christian took South Greene apart 70-45 and will face Clay County on Wednesday March 11th.
Chase leads to DUI charges
Anderson County Sheriff’s deputies arrested a Claxton man Tuesday night on DUI and other charges after he led them on a high-speed pursuit. Deputy Robert Collins reported that he was on routine patrol on Edgemoor Road shortly before 10 pm when he spotted a pickup truck pulling into the Marathon gas station. The deputy turned around when he saw the truck drive on the sidewalk in front of the building and at that point the driver, later identified as 24-year-old Thomas Jay Smith, got back into the truck and drove off. Collins attempted to pull the driver over, but Smith turned on to New Henderson Road and accelerated, at one point leaving the side of the road but regained control and continued at speeds of up to 70 miles an hour as the pursuit turned on to Old Blacksferry Road. Smith jumped out of the truck and ran inside a home on Jones Lane. Deputies made contact with the homeowner, Smith’s stepfather Tim Searles, and he told them that Smith was in his room. Deputies were allowed inside and made contact with Smith, who was taken outside, where he failed several field sobriety tests. After being taken to the Anderson County Jail, Smith took two breathalyzer tests, blowing a .115 and a .117, which is above the legal limit of .08. Smith was charged with two counts of evading arrest and one count each of DUI, reckless driving and driving on a revoked license. At last check, he remained in custody on bonds totaling $25,000.
Help wanted: ACSD announces civil service exam date
(ACSD) The Anderson County Sheriff's Department Civil Service Entrance Examination will be held at 6:00pm on Thursday, March 19, at the National Guard Armory, 189 J.D. Yarnell Industrial Parkway in Clinton. Please arrive at least 15 minutes prior to prepare for testing. Those persons wishing to apply for a position at the Anderson County Sheriff's Department must successfully pass this examination. Application packets may be downloaded from our website at http://www.tnacso.net/emp.php. All applications must be brought in person to the Sheriff's Records Office at the Robert Jolley Building, 101 South Main Street, Suite 400, in Clinton. The application packet and all requested documents must be received by 4:00pm on Friday, March 13, to be eligible to take the examination. Requirements for employment with the Anderson County Sheriff's Department are listed on the application. The Anderson County Sheriff's Department has the following positions open:
For additional information, please contact Lieutenant Kenny Sharp at 865-457-6262.
ORT: OR has plan for snow day make-up
(Oak Ridge Today) Tuesday, we told you about the plans being made by the Clinton and Anderson County school systems to make up instructional days missed due to the weather and road conditions over the past two weeks. Our partners at Oak Ridge Today report that Oak Ridge Schools could make up two snow days by having students attend school for a full day, rather than being dismissed early, on four Wednesdays in March and April. ORT reports that the plan hinges on state approval of a three-day waiver that Tennessee school systems can request because a state of emergency that was declared during the winter weather in the second half of February. Oak Ridge Schools used eight snow days this year but had only three snow days built into its schedule. Without a waiver, that would leave five snow days that have to be made up. But if Oak Ridge receives a three-day waiver from the state, that would leave a two-day deficit. The four full Wednesdays that would be used to make up the two snow days could be scheduled for March 25 and April 1, 8, and 15. For more on this story, visit www.oakridgetoday.com.
Date set for Spring Cleaning at future home of coal mining museum
(Coal Creek Watershed Foundation) The Coal Creek Miners Museum board/volunteers and the City of Rocky Top have been applying for grants to fund the remodel of the new Coal Creek Miners Museum building. Before the holidays, they applied for an Appalachian Resource Commission grant and two other grants from private foundations. Meanwhile, a Spring Cleaning Day will be held at the future home of the museum. If you would like to help, plan on meeting at the future museum on Saturday, April 11th at 9 a.m. We will work until noon.
Roane commissioner arrested on DUI charge
A Roane County commissioner was arrested Monday on suspicion of DUI by a state trooper from the Tennessee Highway Patrol. 59-year-old Greg Ferguson is one of three commissioners representing District 2 on the Roane County Commission. At around 6 pm, a state trooper pulled Ferguson over for a seatbelt violation at the intersection of Highway 70 and Old Harriman Highway and smelled alcohol. Ferguson, who was elected in August of 2014, posted bond and was released from custody.
Potholes cause problems on I-75
Several cars on Interstate 75 sustained flat tires this morning after they ran hit large potholes. Officials reported that at least 20 cars were forced to stop while southbound between mile markers 122 and 128. TDOT crews responded to fill in the potholes, which were mostly in the right lane of the interstate. Crews urge drivers to use caution while driving, especially where crews are working.
State accepting snow day waiver applications
The state of Tennessee is allowing school systems to apply to have up to three educational days waived after many systems went over their amount of allotted snow days due to last month’s winter weather. Education Commissioner Dr. Candice McQueen says many school systems have inquired about relief from the statutory requirement of 180 days of student instruction. Because Gov. Bill Haslam declared a Level II State of Emergency due to the extreme weather conditions throughout the state, the state is accepting requests to waive a maximum of three instructional days. Pursuant to Tennessee law, the commissioner of education may waive the 180-day instructional requirement in very limited cases, including "natural disasters.” The state will look at each request on a case-by-case basis, and will look at the specific circumstances of each school system, the number of stockpiled days and how they were used, and the inability to make up those days. The deadline for school systems to apply is March 31. This morning, Clinton Schools Director Vicki Viollette said that her system will apply for one day of the waiver in the event another day of instruction is missed due to weather as they have exhausted all of their snow days. If their application for the waiver is denied, then a planned in-service day for teachers set for April 6th would turn into an instruction day. Anderson County Schools Director Larry Foster says he will recommend to the School Board that the system apply for the full three-day waiver, but in the event its application is denied, will also recommend using in-service days on April 6th and May 18th for instruction. Foster added that there is a high probability the application could be denied since the system did not set aside 13 days—the maximum allowed by state law—for snow days. Foster also said the school year could be extended by adding instructional days at the end of the calendar. We will keep you updated on WYSH.
Oops! State sends out erroneous licenses
Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security today announced that it had re-issued new permanent driver licenses or photo ID cards to citizens who recently received a card with incorrect content due to a printing error. The driver licenses or ID cards were incorrectly issued with the phrase “Not for Federal Identification” to 3,500 Tennesseans. The cards were issued to citizens who applied or renewed their driver license or ID card at state driver services centers on February 17 through February 19. The department is in the process of sending a new permanent card, without the misprint, to those affected.
Citizens who received the misprinted card will soon receive a letter that explains the misprint and requests the incorrect card to be returned to the department. A self-addressed and stamped envelope will be included with the letter. Citizens affected should continue to use the interim paper license or photo ID until the new, correct, license or photo ID is received.
WBIR: Roane could end up paying for fire clean-up
Roane County could end up paying the bills for cleaning up after a January fire that destroyed the old Miller & Brewer Building in downtown Harriman despite that city's hopes the former owner would be made to pay. According to WBIR-TV, the county is poised to become the owner of the property. It went up for sale last April at auction because the owner, Fikret Gencay of Knoxville, had failed to pay taxes on the building. The county was required to bid on the building at auction by state law when no one else stepped forward, meaning that if Gencay refuses to pay his taxes, Roane County's bid will stand and it will secure the deed. The cost of the clean-up from the massive January 8th fire that smoldered for several days is estimated to be at least $100,000. It had formerly been a department store. Gencay purchased it in the early 2000s and had used it for apartments and then storage, according to WBIR. The city of Harriman has been trying for years to get Gencay to repair the decaying building and bring it into compliance with codes. Gencay owns several parcels in Harriman, according to records. Gencay has until April to pay his property taxes. He could retain ownership of the building if he pays. Crews had to demolish two other buildings next to the Miller & Brewer Building because they were so badly damaged in the blaze they could not be saved. The city wants Gencay to pay for cleanup costs.
Roane murder trial delayed…again
The trial for a man charged with murdering his ex-girlfriend has been pushed back once again. A Roane County Criminal Court judge agreed to delay Shawn Smoot's trial to give his latest new attorney time to examine evidence in the case. His trial in the October 2011 shooting death of his former employee and ex-girlfriend Brooke Morris was supposed to start this month. Morris’s body was found by the side of a rural Roane County road and authorities say that she was shot to death. Since then, Smoot has been in and out of jail, spent time in a mental hospital in Chattanooga and fired several attorneys, much to the dismay of Morris’s parents, who have been waiting for over three years to get justice for their daughter. A trial date was set for December 8th in Roane County Criminal; Court and Smoot is expected back in court on August 3rd.
More problems for Campbell animal shelter
The Campbell County Animal Center is working to clean up after a parvo outbreak last week. The disease in dogs is highly contagious and can become life-threatening. The center had to euthanize twelve dogs because of the outbreak, according to officials, who also said the center is working to improve the floor so that it's easier to clean. Donations of cleaning supplies and floor sealant solution are being accepted. The center is still taking in animals and handling adoptions and has recently hired a full-time vet tech to help run the shelter more effectively. Back in November, the center temporarily suspended animal adoptions and owner surrenders due to confusion over its adoption process and reimbursement of veterinarians for spaying and neutering services.
2 win regional awards from Project Healing Waters
(CRCTU) Dan Moneymaker of Knoxville and Wayne Nobles of Oak Ridge have been awarded regional honors by Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing for wounded and disabled veterans—Moneymaker as Tennessee Valley Region Participant of the Year, Nobles as Tennessee Valley Region Volunteer of the Year. The region includes the states of Alabama, Kentucky and Tennessee.
Both men have been active since the beginnings of the 2-year-old Knoxville Chapter of PHWFF, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to the emotional and physical rehabilitation of wounded and disabled military veterans and active military members through fly fishing.
Steve Thompson of Maynardville, chapter founder and lead, nominated the two for regional honors. Moneymaker's story is similar to those of many Vietnam veterans, Thompson said: He had become a loner, spending many hours daily in his basement doing nothing. Thompson met him at a PTSD function, invited him to join a fly tying class—"and the rest is history," Thompson said.
In 2014, Moneymaker tied more than 1,700 flies including flies donated to Casting for Recovery, to the Smoky Mountain Grand Slam Challenge fishing tournament and to participants in an outing with veterans from the Wounded Warrior Project. He also has served as an instructor at fly tying classes and taught children to tie flies at Kids Fish Free Day, sponsored by the Clinch River Chapter of Trout Unlimited, a PHWFF partner.
"Dan is an ambassador for our program," Thompson said, working with Vet to Vet and in statewide training for police departments on dealing with returning soldiers who have PTSD.
Nobles is a veteran who is disabled, though not from his military service. He is a retired commercial photographer and movie producer, and has taken over communication for Knoxville PHWFF. "He has seeded the idea of a support group and is committed to communicating on a regular basis to understand what is going on with each veteran," Thompson said. "If there is a need, he fills it," including arranging press and TV coverage of chapter events.
"Wayne always has a positive attitude even with his declining health," and his infectious demeanor is the thread that keep veterans together, involved and included, Thompson said.
Nobles will receive a Temple Fork Outfitters rod of his choice; Moneymaker will be awarded an Orvis fly rod, reel and line.
1 injured in OS wreck
A crash between a Jeep and a Dodge Ram pickup sent one man to UT medical Center by Lifestar. The wreck occurred at about 6:30 p.m. Friday on Harriman Highway (Highway 61) near Scandlyn Hollow Road in Roane County. The Jeep’s driver—identified as 33-year-old Joshua Brown of Oliver Springs, was flown to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville, according to the THP. Brown was listed in critical condition at UTMC at last check. Crews from the Roane County Rescue Squad, the Blair Fire Department, and the Oliver Springs Fire Department extricated Brown. State troopers say that the driver of the pickup truck, Jon Hopper of Clinton, suffered some minor injuries as did the passenger in the Jeep—Candace Pritchard. The THP said Brown’s westbound Jeep appeared to have crossed the center line before the crash, crossing almost all the way into the eastbound lane. Both vehicles sustained extensive damage and were mangled, according to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, but the pickup truck was hit on the passenger side in what troopers described as a “glancing blow.” Traffic on Harriman Highway was diverted while the crash was investigated and the roadway cleared.
Roane dump truck involved in crash
A Roane County Highway Department dump truck was involved in a two-vehicle crash at the intersection of Highway 70 and Ruritan Road in Midtown Saturday afternoon at around 4.30. The THP investigated the accident and said the dump truck was driven by Micah McMillan of Rockwood was heading east on 70 when he apparently failed to yield to a van turning left at the light in front of him driven by Robert Stanley of Harriman. The impact sent the truck into a utility pole, causing its fuel tank to leak an estimated 50 gallons of fuel, bringing the hazmat truck to the scene. With assistance from the Midtown Fire Department, workers were able to soak it up before any leaked into the water system. Neither driver was injured but charges are pending, according to the THP report. .
AAA offers post-winter-weather cleaning tips
Your shiny car is probably three dirty shades of grey after driving through the snow, slush and salt during the last two weeks. In fact, your car could be corroding in some secret places, and reversing the effects may not be as easy as a simple car wash.
“In addition to the build-up on the body of the vehicle, damage can occur to the undercarriage as well,” said Jack Wilson, field business manager, Tennessee Approved Auto Repair. “Proper cleaning can help combat corrosion to vital parts such as brake lines and fuel tanks, and time could be a factor.” The Federal Highway Administration estimates the overall direct cost of maintenance and repairs made necessary by corrosion is $6.45 billion—including corrosion due to salt and brine.
What to Clean:
Kelly, DOE ORO manager, passes
Larry Kelly, manager of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Office since July 2012, has died at the age of 58 following a two-year battle with cancer. Before he became DOE-ORO manager, Kelly served as the acting deputy manager and acting manager. He joined the ranks of the federal government’s highest level, the Senior Executive Service, in 2008, serving as the assistant manager of ORO’s Environment, Safety, and Health program. In this capacity, he supported DOE’s mission and programs in safety, health, quality assurance, and environmental protection at the agency’s sites in Oak Ridge and nationally. Prior to joining DOE in 1990, he worked with the Tennessee Valley Authority for nine years, where he supported the design, construction, and operation of commercial nuclear power plants. He also worked for International Paper Company as an environmental engineer at the Natchez Mill.
A native of Oxford, Mississippi, Larry received his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Mississippi and his master’s degree from the University of Tennessee.
In April 2014, Ole Miss selected Larry for its 2014 Engineer of Distinction Award. It is the highest award given by the School of Engineering to recognize the professional accomplishment of a graduate who has reached a pinnacle in their career. He is survived by a wife and daughter.
CHS, Git N Go #4 win red Ribbon Rivalry
(ASAP) The Red Ribbon Rivalry heated up this year as Anderson County High School tried to avenge last year’s loss to Clinton High School but students at Clinton continued their winning streak, to beating Anderson County once again, but ACHS came much closer this year than last year. Both schools were recognized at the Clinton versus Anderson County Basketball game and Clinton Principal Eric Snider, School Counselor Mary Tuskan, and students Sarah Thomas, Kelli Kent, and Reagan Wolfe accepted the trophy on behalf of Clinton High School.
Businesses across the county also participated in the Red Ribbon Rivalry this year including Ace Hardware, Clinton Drug Store, Countryside Tire and Auto, Coal Creek Smokehouse, Git ‘n Go Markets, Hoskins Drug Store, Nikki’s Smartcutz, Powell Clinch Utility District, Say Ow Tattoo, and Secret City Pies. The rivalry among businesses was also closer this year than last, but Git ‘n Go Market #4 came out on top.
The Red Ribbon Rivalry is not only a way to raise money for substance abuse prevention in Anderson County, but also a way to raise awareness. In many instances, our culture tends to focus on the negative; this year, ASAP focuses on the positive by celebrating the achievements Anderson County has reached in substance abuse prevention over the past few years which includes a reduction in the rate of past 30 day use of alcohol, tobacco and marijuana by 6th through 12th graders in Anderson County. Funds raised during the rivalry will stay right here in Anderson County and be used to continue Allies for Substance Abuse Prevention (ASAP) of Anderson County’s mission to prevent and reduce youth substance abuse by collaborating with community partners to implement effective intervention strategies. To learn more about ASAP or to make a donation, go to www.ASAPofAnderson.org or call 865-457-3007.
Relay for Life events
St. Mark United Methodist Church will be holding a rummage sale at the church on Friday, March 13th and Saturday, March 14th from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM. The church is located at 252 N. Main Street. All proceeds to of the sale with go to the American Cancer Society Relay For Life event to support cancer research, community service programs and advocacy efforts. For information call 457-9320.
Bojangles Restaurant in Clinton is partnering with the American Cancer Society to raise money for Relay For Life. On Tuesday, March 10th, 20% of proceeds from all sales from 4:00 to 8:00 PM will go to the cause. The “Riley Mozingo” Relay For Life team is coordinating the event in honor of Riley who is a 6 year old cancer survivor. We are hoping for a great turnout in honor of this brave little girl. Come meet Riley and help support all people who benefit from the preventative work, patient support programs, research and advocacy funded by the American Cancer Society. Bojangles is located on Charles Seivers Boulevard at the Clinton/Norris Exit of interstate 75.
The public is also invited to attend the Relay For Life event in downtown Clinton on Saturday, April 25th starting at 2:00 PM and running until midnight. For more information call Kelly Lenz at 457-1649 or visit: www.relayforlife.org/eastandersontn.
Meredith next AC Chamber president
(Submitted) The Anderson County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors is proud to announce Rick Meredith has been selected as the incoming Chamber President effective April 1, 2015. Meredith will replace current President Jackie Nichols who announced her retirement effective May 1, 2015.
My compliments and appreciation to the search committee for their time commitment and to Chamber Board Chairman Stephen Harris for his leadership during the hiring process”, said Chamber President Nichols. “Meredith was a highly qualified candidate and I believe the perfect selection to continue the Chamber’s current momentum and growth.”
Meredith brings to the table 20 years of leadership and experience in economic and community development as well as knowledge of both state and local planning. He has a proven track record in the implementation of new programs to foster the creation of jobs and sustained economic growth in both urban and rural areas. His areas of expertise include budget management and planning, the supervision of a large staff, and state and federal grants.
He joined the Hollingsworth Companies in 2010 as Senior Vice-President for Community Development. In this position, he is responsible for recruiting industry throughout Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi. He also manages a private industrial park and serves as an adviser to the President of the company on other economic development projects.
Meredith formerly served in Governor Phil Bredesen’s administration as Assistant Commissioner of the Community Development Division of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. He was responsible for overseeing the Main Street, Retire Tennessee and Three-Star programs, as well as programs pertaining to Energy Policy, Local Planning and Grants and Loans. In this role, Meredith pioneered several state programs designed to help business owners. He developed and implemented the Tennessee One Stop Business Resource, an interdepartmental state government cooperative that allows business owners to easily register their business online. Since its implementation, more than 900 businesses have registered and only two other states in the nation have a similar tool. Meredith also organized the first-ever Business Enterprise Resource Office Business Matchmaking event providing small businesses with procurement opportunities. He also assisted in the implementation of the $62.5 million federally funded Volunteer State Solar Initiative, comprised of the Tennessee Solar Institute at the University of Tennessee, the West Tennessee Solar Farm, and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
Prior to joining the Bredesen Administration, Meredith served as the Anderson County Register of Deeds. He managed all public recording of instruments and an annual budget of approximately $250,000.
Meredith is currently serving his second term on the Anderson County Commission. He is Chairman of the Government Operations and Agriculture Committees and is a member of the Legislative and Human Resources Committees.
He attended the University of Tennessee Institute for Public Service, and is a Certified Public Administrator. A lifelong resident of Anderson County, he resides in Clinton with his wife, Kim.
Region championship round-up
After two weeks of waiting, area high school basketball teams finally wrapped up Region tournament play this weekend. We have all of the quarterfinal and semifinal results on our website, but here are the Region championship game results. We begin with girls’ action, where in Region 2AAA, Farragut scored on a bucket at the buzzer to knock off archrivals Bearden 52-51 on Sunday. Farragut will host Morristown West tonight (Monday) in a sectional game for the right to play in this week’s state tournament, while Bearden heads to Jefferson County. In Region 2AA, Fulton’s girls handled Gatlinburg-Pittman 65-55 and will host Grainger tonight. Gat-Pitt heads to Elizabethton. In Region 2A on Saturday, Oliver Springs edged Meigs County 46-43 and will host Hampton this evening while Meigs heads to South Greene. On the boys’ side of Region 2AAA, Maryville completed its sweep of the top 2 ranked teams in Class AAA on Sunday, following up Saturday’s destruction of #2 Bearden with a 60-56 upset of top-ranked Oak Ridge, who will travel to Johnson City to face Science Hill Tuesday night. In Region 2AA, Carter beat Fulton 62-52 and will host Greeneville while Fulton heads to Elizabethton Tuesday. In Region 2A, Grace Christian beat Meigs County Sunday 56-52 and awaits a home game against the loser of tonight’s Region 1 title game between South Greene and Hampton. Meigs County will travel to play the winner of that game on Tuesday.
Church holds benefit singing
A benefit singing will be held Saturday March 7th at 7 pm at Guiding Star Baptist Church in Medford featuring the Larry Byrge Singers, the Liberty Singers, the Chitwood Singers and others. Everyone is welcome.
Clinton responds to garbage collection inquiries
(Clinton Public Works release) Recent weather delays have resulted in several calls about household trash collection inside the City of Clinton. Our contractor, Waste Connections, is running one week and one day behind on the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday schedule, and one day behind on the Thursday and Friday schedule. They are working hard to get back on a normal collection schedule. In speaking with City of Clinton residents, we are discovering that many of the callers are unaware that as City of Clinton AND Anderson County residents, they may use the trash drop-off convenience centers offered by the Anderson County government, free of charge. These centers are operated by Waste Connections (the same contractor performing trash collections for the City of Clinton), with the nearest ones located at 1510 Clinton Hwy (next to Wolf Valley Rd) and 901 Sinking Springs Rd (across from the Anderson County High School). For inquiries, contact Waste Connections at 865-482-3656 or the Anderson County Solid Waste office at 865-457-6244.
Rocky Top March meeting schedule
The Rocky Top meeting schedule for March will be as follows:
AC Chamber presents seminar
The Anderson County Chamber of Commerce welcomes David Vudragovich, HealthMarkets Agent, who will present a seminar “HealthCare and Tax Preparers – How to be Your Client’s Hero!” scheduled for Wednesday, March 11, from 11:30 to 1:00 p.m. at the Chamber office. This seminar will clarify how HealthCare works and what information to share with your clients to reduce their 2015 liability.
Line 61, the Shared Responsibility Payment, is new to the IRS Form 1040 this year. BUT did you know you can help clients reduce their 2015 liability? Join us for this informative seminar and learn how to be a resource to save your client tax dollars next year. Vudragovich has been a licensed Life and Health Insurance Agent since 2007 and an Anderson County Chamber member since 2011. He has held numerous education events for the public on Health Care Reform. The event is free to Chamber members and just $5 for non-Chamber members. A limited number of seats are available. Reserve your space for this valuable presentation by Tuesday, March 10. BBQ is being provided by fellow Chamber member Coal Creek Smoke House. Call the Chamber at 865-457-2559 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve.
AC Commission meeting canceled, agenda rolled over to March
The February meeting of the Anderson County Commission was cancelled Thursday night and will not be rescheduled. It will be combined with the regular March meeting to be held March 16th.
Tennova, BCBST announce agreement
Tennova Healthcare and BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee have finalized a multi-year agreement. Effective March 1, the agreement provides Blue Network SSM (“Network S”) members access to services at Tennova’s Physicians Regional Medical Center, North Knoxville Medical Center and Turkey Creek Medical Center and their employed physician practices. With the addition of these hospitals, Network S members now have access to all seven Tennova facilities. “We’ve experienced significant growth in Network S,” said Henry Smith, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for BlueCross. “We are pleased to get this new agreement with Tennova in place because it provides our Network S members more choices for quality healthcare at affordable rates.” The agreement is an expansion of Tennova’s ongoing relationship with BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. All seven Tennova facilities are already in-network with the health plan’s Blue Network PSM as well as its Medicare Advantage and Medicaid products. “We are very excited about this opportunity to expand our relationship with BlueCross. As a result of this agreement, thousands of families throughout East Tennessee will now have access to the excellent services provided at our Physicians Regional, North Knoxville and Turkey Creek Medical Centers,” said Neil Heatherly, chief executive officer of Tennova Healthcare.
ACSD responded to 49 crashes during winter weather outbreak
Anderson County Chief Sheriff’s Deputy Mark Lucas has issued an update on the effects of the winter weather that has held the area in its icy grasp for the past two weeks. Since the first round of weather rolled in on February 16th, the Sheriff’s Department responded to 49 traffic crashes and 31 reports of abandoned or disabled vehicles. Those numbers were up significantly from the prior two weeks where there were 22 crashes and 19 disabled vehicles reported. These figures do not include a number of other minor crashes where the drivers exchanged information or just involved a car in a ditch that was not reported. There were a few reports of downed trees across the road or power lines but nothing significant. Power outages seemed to be isolated and minimal. During the weather events deputies patrolled and answered calls in four wheel drive vehicles. They are still using those on some back roads that still have ice and snow. The only major events reported were the roof collapses at Pharma and Stardust Marina, both of which occurred last weekend, injuring no one.
Grand Ole Opry House added to National Historic Register
The Ryman Auditorium gained its status as a national landmark in 2001. Many people thought it would only be a matter of time before the Grand Ole Opry House joined its ranks. The Tennessee Historical Commission announced this week that the National Register of Historic Places has recognized the Grand Ole Opry House as a cultural resource worthy of preservation. Since it was constructed in 1972-74, the performance hall and — at the time of completion — the largest broadcast studio has affected popular culture, entertainment and the communications industry, which is what drove the National Register's decision. The building, which is the Opry's sixth home, represents a new era in country music, when the industry was becoming more mainstream and using new sounds, marketing and production techniques. Not only a home for country music singers, the Opry House has hosted U.S. presidents, foreign dignitaries, award shows, TV tapings and numerous special events in its 41-year history.
Bartley’s move out of state approved by judge
Convicted Campbell County school shooter Kenny Bartley Jr. has been cleared to move to Virginia so that he can take part in a comprehensive transitional care plan designed to rehabilitate him. Criminal Court Judge E. Shayne Sexton signed an order this week that will allow the now-23-year-old Bartley to be released from the custody of Campbell County authorities. He is moving to Virginia to live with Erin TePaske, who previously counseled Bartley when he was a teenager. On Monday, Bartley pleaded guilty in Campbell County to the domestic assault of his mother in October. As part of an agreement to resolve that case, his probation for a prior case involving his father was extended two years. Bartley’s attorney, Greg Isaacs presented the court with a plan that calls for Bartley to get psychological help. He'll also get counseling to help find permanent employment, Isaacs said. He must make a written report every 45 days on his progress.
Reminder: Bingo, egg hunt for area seniors
Area seniors, remember that the Anderson County Office on Aging has activities to keep you active and entertained. On the second Wednesday of each month, there will be community bingo at Summit View of Rocky Top beginning at 3 pm. It is open to Anderson County seniors ages 60 and older and they have some great prizes for you. Plus, mark your calendars for March 28th, when there will be a Community Egg Hunt with prizes and refreshments for all ages, including both the young and young-at-heart.
AC Chamber presenting Small Business Seminar
The Anderson County Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Tennessee Small Business Development Center will host a free workshop for small business owners and entrepreneurs who want a better understanding of starting a new business. The TSBDC advises and assists entrepreneurs and small business owners in our area at no cost to them. This free seminar will be held on Tuesday, March 10, 2015, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at the Anderson County Chamber of Commerce office, 245 N. Main St., Ste., 200, Clinton, with Jutta Bangs, Director of the TSBDC center at Roane State Community College. The seminar discussion includes the forms of business organization, tax requirements, business licenses, business planning and financing options (including discussion about SBA loan guarantee programs). Space is limited and advance registration is required. Reserve your space by contacting the Anderson County Chamber of Commerce, 865-457-2559 or email: email@example.com. To learn more about the TSBDC, please visit www.tsbdc.org. Small Business Counseling is also available by appointment on March 10. Please contact the Chamber office to schedule.
Chilcoat to be remembered March 8th
A Celebration of Life service for longtime community volunteer Lin Chilcoat, who passed away last week at the age of 72, is planned for March 8th from 2 to 5 pm in the Clinton Community Center’s Great Room. Ms. Chilcoat was a longtime volunteer, serving in many roles with the Marlow Volunteer Fire Department over the past three decades.
City outlines snow removal procedures
(Public Works Director Lynn Murphy) The City of Clinton Public Works Department continues to work on snow and ice removal on our city streets. We have recently received several inquiries about our procedures, and I will try to share the answers:
We have had several calls asking when snow and ice will be removed from sidewalks. Public Works does not provide a snow removal service for sidewalks, except along properties owned by the City of Clinton. Our ordinance 16-108 says:
16-108. Abutting occupants to keep sidewalks clean, etc.
The occupants of property abutting on a sidewalk are required to keep the sidewalk clean. Also, immediately after a snow or sleet, such occupants are required to remove all accumulated snow and ice from the abutting sidewalk.
Please note that the wording specifies “occupant”, which in some cases may be a tenant, and not a property owner.
SNOW PLOWING BLOCKING DRIVEWAYS
Several complaints have been received about snow plows leaving piles of snow in front of driveway entrances. We regret the inconvenience this creates, especially to those who are not physically able to shovel snow; however, there are over 3,000 driveways inside the City of Clinton, and we simply do not have the resources to return and clean each private driveway after a snow plowing event. While no local ordinance specifies this, Public Works considers it the individual responsibility of each property owner/tenant to clear their driveway and mailbox of snow after streets have been plowed. We have researched with other agencies about how they manage this problem, and very few are able to return after snow plowing to clean private driveways.
SNOW PLOWING SCHEDULE
Streets are classified as Arterial, Collector, and Local. Arterials in Clinton are state highways 25W and 61, which are maintained by TDOT. Collectors connect to Arterials after receiving traffic from Local streets. Our highest priority for snow plowing is to first provide access for ambulances, fire trucks, and police cars to areas of the city that have streets with steep hills, regardless of the classification. Secondly we clear Collectors, and lastly we work on Local streets. A Local street with a relatively flat grade would receive the lowest priority. Some narrow and/or dead-end streets may not be plowed, due to the hazards of trying to turn around or back a long distance.
Snow and ice removal may require snow plowing or applying gravel chips for traction, or a combination of both. The timing of doing this around the existing temperature and when snow stops falling is critical. We get several calls asking about applying rock salt or pre-treating streets with liquid salt brine (brine uses 90% water and 10% salt). The City of Clinton and Anderson County governments do not use salt or brine. TDOT uses both on their state highways. Salt is expensive (over $100 per ton) and is harmful to streets, bridges, vehicles, and the environment. Instead, we use limestone gravel chips ($15 per ton) spread sparingly for traction, primarily in areas that are shaded and freeze quickly and on steep hills.
It should be realized that depending on the temperature and sunlight, some streets may not be completely cleared. Access to/from all streets will sometimes require an amount of personal responsibility, such as realizing the need for a four-wheel drive vehicle, or the installation of tire chains, traction cables, or snow tires.
In Clinton there are plenty hills and valleys, and steep driveways going either up or down from the public street. When snow is forecast, many residents park their cars on the street. While this technically violates our parking ordinance, some people may have no choice. On-street parking creates a problem and hazard for snow plow operators. The plowed snow may damage cars or pile snow around them. We receive complaints about blocking in cars with plowed snow, but there are not many options available, except to NOT plow streets where cars are parked at the curb. We are working with the Police Department to decide on how to best deal with this problem.
In closing, snow events in our area do not occur often enough for everyone (including us) to become accustomed to the adjustments required. Small governments such as ours cannot justify the expense of buying extra snow removal equipment and have it sit waiting for a major snow and ice event to occur. We are trying to balance the need to have sufficient trucks, plows, and spreaders, but not waste tax dollars by purchasing tons of salt and excessive equipment. Understand that the procedures described above are for City of Clinton streets only, and not county roads and state highways. We have received several calls from residents with a Clinton Post Office mailing address who live outside the city limit, who are unsure about which government maintains their road.
The City of Clinton Public Works staff has recently worked several twenty-four hour shifts to clear streets of snow and ice. We will continue to provide the most efficient service possible, within our staffing, equipment, and budget allocations.
ORPD nabs wanted suspect
Oak Ridge Police arrested a suspect who had been wanted for weeks on charges he fled several times from officers who tried to stop his vehicle. Marvin J’von Slater faces a slew of charges including drug possession, reckless endangerment, driving on a suspended or revoked license, evading arrest, aggravated assault and failure to appear. Police say he fled from officers on several occasions, disregarding traffic laws and endangering officers, the general public and himself. Exercising an abundance of caution, officers decided to use less obvious means to apprehend Slater, including fixed and mobile surveillance. As a result, officers were able to arrest Slater Tuesday at the BP gas station on S. Illinois Avenue around 4:30 p.m. Two other people were also arrested, which resulted in the seizure of marijuana, crack cocaine and a vehicle.
House fire injures none
No one was injured in an early-Wednesday-morning fire at a house on Briceville Highway that is believed to have started near the dryer. Firefighters and other emergency personnel responded to 1433 Briceville Highway just after midnight this morning and spoke with resident Zeb Trett, who told them that he had been almost asleep on his couch shortly before midnight when he heard a loud popping sound coming from the back of the house. He got up to investigate and saw clothing in a laundry basket on fire, woke up his wife and got her out of the house. Briceville firefighters extinguished the blaze and told deputies that it appears to have started near the dryer. There was no indication on the incident report of how much damage was done to the house, but again, no one was injured.
$1800 worth of camera equipment stolen
Thefts from the Clinton Wal-Mart happen so often, we typically do not report on them but Clinton Police are investigating the theft of over $1800 worth of digital cameras. Police were called to the store on Saturday afternoon and told by a loss prevention officer that a white male had opened an unlocked display case, removed a Sony camcorder, four Canon digital cameras, and a Samsung digital camera. Altogether the items were valued at $1804. The suspect then took the cameras to the sporting goods department, removed them from their packages and concealed them in his clothing before walking out with out paying for them. The suspect was seen getting into a car and driving off but the tag came back as being registered to a black male from Knoxville. The investigation is ongoing.
Follow-up: AC Legal Services committee votes for review
(WYSH/ Oak Ridge Today) The Anderson County Legal Services Advisory Committee met Monday to hear complaints from citizens regarding Law Director Jay Yeager. After hearing a few complaints from citizens about issues not already included in the citizen-led ouster lawsuit against Yeager and after hearing from some citizens who support Yeager, the committee voted unanimously to select an independent third party to “review the policies, procedures, and practices in the Anderson County Law Director's office.” The third-party review was proposed by County Commissioner Myron Iwanski. “I’m not accusing Jay of anything,” said Iwanski, who modeled his proposal after a recent resolution to review turnover, morale, and administrative policies in the Oak Ridge Police Department. “It’s not an investigation. We’re just getting a review of practices.” According to the resolution that passed Monday, the review will be conducted within 30 days after the party is selected and the findings will be turned over to the Committee—which was established in 2006 to oversee the law director’s office—for any necessary action. Ideally, the committee hopes to utilize a consultant from the County Technical Advisory Service (CTAS), but if CTAS is not able to perform the review, then the review will be done by an independent person recommended by CTAS. Lynn Byrge, who has spearheaded the ouster effort, said the review approved by the county committee wouldn’t satisfy the petitioners but added that the suit would “go away” if county officials would just remove Yeager from office. Greg Brown, attorney for the petitioners, said the ouster suit was dismissed only on the question of whether Yeager is a public official or employee, and the underlying allegations still need to be investigated. The resolution also authorizes the chairman of the Legal Services Advisory Committee, Commissioner Steve Mead, to make arrangements for the third-party review but Committee members agreed to work with the third party to identify citizen concerns and reconvene to give guidance to the third party as a group.
Red Cross offers winter preparedness tips
(American Red Cross) While most of the snow and ice has melted from last week’s winter storm, a new round of winter weather threatens the area. Weather experts predict that snow could impact a large swath of Tennessee again this week. For that reason, the Red Cross urges everyone to shelter in place and to be extra cautious if caught on icy roads.
Assembling Emergency Preparedness Kits:
Preparing Your Home and Car:
The Red Cross continues to provide a safe haven and meals for Tennessee residents who escaped the bitter cold last week. As ofTuesday morning, the Red Cross has served over 1,500 meals and had nearly 750 overnight stays in Shelters due to the winter storm. Despite severe weather conditions, Red Cross volunteers continue to respond to home and apartment fires statewide and have provided food, shelter and other necessities for thousands of people since January 1st. Our volunteers and supplies remain on stand-by to reopen shelters based on need and changing conditions. We also continue to work closely with local EMAs and organizations to serve their communities.
HOW TO HELP
You can help people affected by disasters like winter storms, home fires and countless other crises by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Visit www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS, or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
Marijuana found in backpack left at eatery
A backpack containing marijuana was found inside Bojangle’s in Clinton on Monday. The restaurant manager called police at around 1:30 pm Monday and told officers that another employee had found a backpack in the lobby two days before and had placed it in the office under the assumption the owner would be back to retrieve it. Employees said they detected a “suspicious” odor and opened it to investigate further. Inside, they found a tin containing approximately 10 grams of marijuana and notified police. The pot was seized, cataloged and destroyed by Clinton Police.
State: Tennessee’s economy growing
(TN Secretary of State) More than 7,000 new businesses were formed in Tennessee during the final quarter of last year, according to a new economic report. The number of new businesses created during the fourth quarter of 2014 was up 8.8 percent from the same time period during the previous year. The reports are produced quarterly by the Secretary of State's office and the University of Tennessee-Knoxville's Center for Business and Economic Research. They draw on information provided to the Secretary of State's office regarding business filings and dissolutions, as well as other economic information drawn from other sources. The report can be found online at http://tn.gov/sos/be_reports/201502.pdf. "The increase in the number of new business filings is a positive sign for the state's economy," Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. "It is one of several encouraging economic indicators that can be found in our latest report." Statewide, personal income growth is up 3.7 percent compared to the same period last year. Total tax revenues grew 4.7 percent compared to the fourth quarter of last year. Non-farm employment increased 2.4 percent. However, the state's unemployment rate remains a full percentage point above the national average. Nationally, there are promising signs as well. The gross domestic product and sales of light vehicles continued to grow, while gasoline prices were at a five-year low.
Weather likely to blame for Campbell death
Authorities in Campbell County say that the winter weather likely played a “significant role “in the death of a 32-year-old man whose body was found in a wooded area Sunday. 27 deaths across Tennessee are now blamed on the winter weather that entered the state last week. Hunters found the body of 32-year-old Kenneth Mozingo of Duff in the Tackett Creek area. The Campbell County Sheriff’s Office says it appears Mozingo became stranded after his vehicle either got stuck or broke down in a wooded area several miles off the main road. An autopsy was scheduled for Monday at the Regional Forensic Center in Knoxville to determine the cause of death and toxicology results.
AC committee votes for 3rd party review of Law Director’s office
The Anderson County Legal Services Advisory Committee met for the first time in several years on Monday to hear complaints from citizens regarding Law Director Jay Yeager. After hearing a few complaints from citizens about issues not already included in the citizen-led ouster lawsuit against Yeager and after hearing from some citizens who support Yeager, the committee voted unanimously to select an independent third party to “review the policies, procedures, and practices in the Anderson County Law Director's office.” According to the resolution that passed Monday, the review will be conducted within 30 days after the party is selected and the findings will be turned over to the Committee—which was established in 2006 to oversee the law director’s office—for any necessary action. Ideally, the committee hopes to utilize a consultant from UT’s County Technical Advisory Service, but if CTAS is not able to perform the review, then the review will be done by an independent person recommended by CTAS. The resolution also authorizes the chairman of the Legal Services Advisory Committee, Commissioner Steve Mead, to make arrangements for the third-party review. We will have more on Monday’s meeting for you on the air and on line as soon as possible.
CRCTU to meet March 12th
(CRCTU) Matt Kulp, supervisory fishery biologist in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, will give project updates on Smokies "Fish & Water Happenings" at a free, public meeting of the Clinch River Chapter, Trout Unlimited, on Thursday, March 12. The program will start at 7 p.m. in the parish hall of St. Francis Episcopal Church, 158 W. Norris Road, Norris.
Kulp says he will discuss "some of the projects and issues we are dealing with related to fish and water, many of which TU is involved with." Topics will include:
* Update on the Lynn Camp Prong brook trout restoration and reopening
* Brook trout genetic project results
* Didymo survey and disinfection results
* Results of critical load modeling to protect aquatic and terrestrial natural resources
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. For more information, visit crctu.org.
Clinton offering Lifeguard Course
City of Clinton - Parks & Recreation Department
2015 - American Red Cross - Lifeguard Course
Cost $100 - per student - No Phone Registrations will be accepted.
Go to Clinton Community Center - Main office; register and pay the $35 - nonrefundable book fee. Go to Pre- Requisite Testing held Thursday March 26th, 5 to 9pm. After passing the pre-test you must pay the remaining $65, to be enrolled in our 2015 LG course and receive your course materials.
a. By holding 2 - 4-hour sessions we are attempting complete this course in 1 weekend instead of 2 weekends. Attendance to all classes is still mandatory for students to pass this course.
3. Pre-Requisites Testing –THURSDAY – March 26th - 5 to 9pm CCC - Indoor Pool.
Candidates must attend all classes to be eligible for an ARC-LG/CPR/ AED/1stAid certifications. You must provide proof of age at this time ex. Drivers license or learners permit. Watch videos for chapters for chapters 1 & 2 in your student manual.
Minimum requirements – Age 15 or older
a. Swim 300 yards continuously, using these strokes in the following order:
*100 yards front crawl using rhythmic breathing with a stabilizing kick.
*100 yards of breaststroke using a pull / breathe, kick and glide sequence.
*100 Yards of either front crawl or breaststroke or combination there of
b. starting in the water, swim 20 yards using front crawl or breaststroke, surface dive 7-10 feet, retrieve
A 10-pound object, return to the surface, swim 20 yards back to the starting point with the object and exit the water without using a ladder or steps, within 1 minute, 40 seconds.
5. Course Outline – Be prepared for water or land classes each time we meet.
a. Friday – March 27th 5 to 9pm- Chapters 3 & 4 Recognition & Response
b. Saturday – March 28th 8am to 4pm- Chapter 5, 6 & 7
Chapter 8-Pg 130 -140 Finial Written Exam Section 1–CPR/AED Part 1-30 Questions Part 2-10 Questions
c. Sunday – March 29th 8am to 4pm - Chapter 8, 9 & 10 Final Skills Scenarios-In water
Final Written Exam - Section 2 – First Aid & Head, Neck & Back Injury
At the end of Sunday 03/29/2015 session if this group needs additional time to complete the skill test or written exam necessary to comply with the ARC standards we will meet again on Monday March 30 @ 5pm.
Each person should bring their lunch daily; we will have 30 minutes for a meal. Vending machines are available. You must demonstrate knowledge sufficient to perform the life guarding skills taught during course. Display a maturity level that will allow you to respond appropriately in many emergency situations. You must also correctly answer 80% of the questions on 3 Final Written Exams, followed by the In-Water final skills scenarios. Come prepared each time we meet to work in the water & out. We do not want to miss an opportunity to move forward because one person is not prepared.
Questions please contact your American Red Cross Life Guard Instructor
Jan Smith @ 457-0642 Monday -Thursday 8am to 4pm
DOE appoints 4 to ORSSAB
(Submitted) The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has appointed four new members to its Environmental Management advisory board in Oak Ridge. Leon Baker, Richard Burroughs, Terri Likens and Ed Trujillo were introduced during the Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board’s (ORSSAB) February meeting.
ORSSAB is a federally chartered citizens’ panel that provides independent advice and recommendations to DOE for the cleanup of the Oak Ridge Reservation.
Leon Baker is a logistics coordinator with DOW Chemical. Previously, he was a health physics technician with Denuke, Inc., a company that provides a variety of services to the nuclear industry. He has also worked with the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program through Oak Ridge Associated Universities. Baker received associate’s degrees in mechanical engineering technology from Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville and in science from Georgia Military College in Milledgeville, Georgia. He earned a bachelor’s degree in health care management from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois, and a master’s degree from Brenau University in Gainesville, Georgia. Baker, who lives in Oak Ridge, is a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Health Physics Society.
Richard Burroughs is the chief of staff in the Anderson County mayor’s office. Prior to that post, his professional experiences were related to his background as a registered professional geologist with extensive hydrogeological expertise in aquifer characterization and remediation in soil and groundwater environments. His employment history includes 25 years working primarily with Resource Conservation Recovery Act and Comprehensive Environmental Restoration Compensation and Liability Act projects. Burroughs received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in geology from Southern Illinois University and the University of Arkansas, respectively. He is a resident of Oak Ridge.
Terri Likens is the editor of the Roane County News. She has worked in several states as an editor, a reporter, and a freelance journalist. She has received numerous honors for her work from a number of organizations, including the Tennessee Press Association. She received her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky. She is a member of CASA of the Tennessee Heartland (a children’s advocacy group), the Tennessee Press Association, and Conservation Fisheries, Inc. Likens lives in Kingston.
Ed Trujillo retired from Bechtel Corporation in 2012. His most recent project involved managing the engineering and construction of a maintenance facility for heavy mining equipment in Chile, from 2011 until 2012. From 2008 until 2011, he managed three environmental projects for Bechtel at the DOE East Tennessee Technology Park in Oak Ridge. During his 35-year career, he has worked on a wide variety of projects at DOE, the U.S. Air Force, and private sector facilities. Trujillo received his bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University of Wisconsin in Platteville, Wisconsin. He is a resident of Oak Ridge.
ORSSAB meets on the second Wednesday of each month at 6 p.m. at the Office of Science and Technical Information, 1 Science.gov Way in Oak Ridge. Meetings of the board and its committees are open to the public, and notices are posted on the board’s web site: www.energy.gov/orssab.
Vann back in Campbell court
Former LaFollette Middle School teacher Lonnie Vann who has been charged with the murder and kidnapping of Rhonda Daugherty was back in court Monday. During Monday’s hearing, he pleaded not guilty to additional robbery and kidnapping charges. Vann was originally charged with three counts for the kidnapping and murder of Rhonda Daugherty. Six additional counts of robbery and kidnapping have been added to the list of charges against him. Vann now faces nine charges in the case. Counts one through three are the charges of the murder and kidnapping of Rhonda Daugherty. Counts four through nine accuse Vann of robbing and kidnapping or confining two people to facilitate fleeing after committing first degree murder. Vann is also facing a separate case for earlier charges of solicitation of a minor, sexual battery by an authority figure, tampering with evidence and assault for his alleged inappropriate conduct with a student in 2013.
The attorney on that case stepped down Monday and the judge appointed the same public defender to handle both cases. Vann will be back in the courthouse in April for a status check in both cases. Daugherty’s body has still not been found. Investigators have spent weeks searching Norris Lake.
Bartley pleads to assault charges
Convicted Campbell County school shooter Kenneth Bartley pleaded guilty Monday to domestic assault in connection with an October incident that involved his mother as part of a plea agreement that includes what his attorneys call a comprehensive rehabilitation plan. Bartley was arraigned on the assault charge and for a violation of probation that stemmed from an incident last year in which he pleaded guilty to assaulting his father. Bartley was 14 in 2005 when he opened fire inside an office at the high school where he was a student, killing Assistant Principal Ken Bruce. After eight years behind, Bartley was acquitted of first-degree murder, and found guilty instead of reckless homicide. He was freed in April 2014. A psychologist who counseled Bartley when he was a teenager proposed a “transitional care plan” Monday that would extend his probation while allowing him to receive treatment, said defense attorney Gregory P. Isaacs. Campbell County Criminal Court Judge E. Shayne Sexton granted Bartley 2½ years’ probation to allow him to live with the psychologist and her family while undergoing drug and alcohol treatment in Virginia. Bartley will also be required to wear a bracelet that will monitor him for alcohol use. The judge will also require written reports on Bartley’s treatment every 45 days.
Ice, snow responsible for roof collapses
Several Campbell County boat docks collapsed due to ice and snow over the weekend. At Springs Dock Resort and Twin Cove Resort and Marina, some boats sat above water while others were underneath the surface, crushed by ice and snow. Pictures from Twin Cove showed several boats covered in debris and snow. Another picture showed covered boat docks that appeared to be flattened. The property owner estimated $750,000 in damages at Twin Cove, but he's just glad no one was hurt. The owners plan to get insurance adjusters to visit the marinas on Monday to work toward starting up the rebuilding process.
Two zebras at the Little Ponderosa Zoo in Clinton narrowly avoided injury Saturday after their shelter collapsed following a winter storm. Two caretakers came to feed them so the animals walked out from underneath the shelter. Then, the building collapsed underneath the weight of the snow and rain, according to the non-profit zoo and rescue organization. Little Ponderosa said both of the zebras are alive and healthy. Caretakers have been working with the zoo's veterinarians to ensure that all of the zoo’s animals are able to stay warm throughout the night. Zookeepers also say they have dealing with lots of flooding throughout the grounds.
No one was injured, but three workers were briefly trapped when a roof collapsed at a factory in Andersonville on Saturday, likely due to ice and snow buildup. The roof collapse was reported at about 7:40 p.m. Saturday and authorities say seven people were inside the Carton Service/Pharma Packaging building on First Quality Drive at the time. Four workers were able to make it out while firefighters had to help three workers escape from a break room near the front of the building. Officials estimated that 50 percent of the roof, which was about 40 feet above the factory floor, had collapsed. There was only a small crew working at the time, Kennedy said. A building inspector said snow and ice buildup had apparently clogged drains, meaning the accumulated precipitation on the roof wasn’t draining. The incident also busted a three-inch main gas line, which was “wide open.” Crews initially shut off the gas, and then the Powell-Clinch Utility District responded to repair the gas line. Norris Freeway near the factory was temporarily closed because of that leak. Crews from the Andersonville Volunteer Fire Department, the Anderson County Rescue Squad, Norris Fire Department, and Anderson County EMS all responded. Norris Police Department helped with traffic control on U.S. 441, also known as Norris Freeway. Pharma Packaging makes medical supplies and packaging. The factory is off Mountain Road and Norris Freeway, just south of Highway 61 and the city of Norris.
AC water line breaks, repaired
A major water line leak that affected some customers in north Anderson County was located and repaired Friday. The leak was on a fire line that also supplies SL Tennessee in Clinton. Crews reported that the Anderson County Water Authority pipe was losing a thousand gallons a minute at the height of the break.
ORT: Driver in car vs. house (and cars) arrested for DUI
(Oak Ridge Today) The driver of a car that allegedly caused a four-vehicle crash and damaged a home on Robertsville Road has been charged with driving under the influence, authorities said.
Officers located Brandon Kyle Baez, 18, of Oak Ridge, after he walked away from the crash at 184 Robertsville Road and tried to hide in a wooded area, Oak Ridge Police Department Officer Ben Higgins said in a warrant. The crash occurred at about 10:40 p.m. Thursday just east of North Illinois Avenue. An SUV-type vehicle driven by Baez allegedly left the road, drove through the front yard of one home on Robertsville Road, crashed into a Ford four-door sedan parked in the driveway, and pushed it about three or four car lengths into a neighbor’s front yard—and reportedly caused a collision with two cars parked in the neighbor’s driveway (the home of Mike and Judy Coen).
Higgins said he could smell a strong alcoholic odor coming from Baez after officers found him, and his eyes were bloodshot and glossy.
“The defendant appeared to be uneasy on his feet as well,” Higgins wrote in the warrant.
Baez told the officer he’d had one shot of whiskey and had rinsed his mouth out with mouthwash as well, according to the warrant.
Baez, who was allegedly driving with a suspended license, told police he lost control of the vehicle and left the scene because he was scared.
ORPD Officer Grant Gouldie said Baez had been “skidding and yawing” approximately 150-200 feet before he hit the first vehicle, according to the warrant.
“Officer Gouldie further advised that the skid and yaw marks started on the wrong side of the road, indicating that the defendant was on the wrong side of the roadway, and that the defendant was obviously traveling at speeds too fast for the road conditions and above the posted 25 mph speed limit,” the warrant said. Baez told Higgins that he was driving on the wrong side of the road because he was trying to avoid ice.
Baez was also charged with reckless driving, driving on a suspended license, duty to render aid, and joyriding, according to the Anderson County General Sessions Court. Baez remained jailed in the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton on Friday afternoon.
ORT: Clinton man escapes OR car fire
(Oak Ridge Today) Clinton resident Mark Bunch escaped a car fire on Lafayette Drive in Oak Ridge on Sunday night. Bunch said he had just left a shop on Midway Lane about a quarter-mile away when other drivers started flashing their lights at him. Then, he noticed a glow by his left front tire. Bunch pulled over between Hendrix Drive and Emory Valley Road just before 8 p.m. Sunday. He was able to exit the car on the driver’s side, although he was a little worried about the flames shooting up from the front of the 2007 Subaru station wagon. Firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the flames using a 1.75-inch line, said Todd Derrick, Oak Ridge Fire Department battalion chief. There were no injuries. Derrick said the ORFD would attribute the fire to mechanical failure. Bunch had said the Subaru was missing or sputtering before it caught fire, Derrick said. The front of the car was heavily damaged, and part of the windshield melted.
ORT: Car hits house, 3 other vehicles
(Oak Ridge Today) No one was injured in a four-car crash that damaged a home on Robertsville Road on Thursday night. The crash occurred at about 10:40 p.m. Thursday just east of North Illinois Avenue. An SUV-type vehicle reportedly left the road, drove through the front yard of one home on Robertsville Road, crashed into a Ford four-door sedan parked in the driveway, and pushed it about three or four car lengths into a neighbor’s front yard—and then hit two cars parked in the neighbor’s driveway (the home of Mike and Judy Coen). One of those cars, a Toyota Tercel used by Mike Coen, was shoved into the side of the house, damaging siding at the corner of the Coens’ home. The SUV-type vehicle reportedly came to rest with its back end partially on top of another vehicle in the driveway, a Saturn used by Judy Coen, crushing its rear end. “It rocked our house,” said Judy Coen, who said the couple was in bed watching television when the crash occurred. “We thought it was an explosion.” The right side of the Ford owned by the Coens’ neighbors was caved in and heavily damaged. There were no injuries, said Todd Derrick, Oak Ridge Fire Department battalion chief. The Oak Ridge Police Department appeared to be searching for someone west of North Illinois Avenue, at Robertsville Middle School, although it wasn’t immediately clear if that search just before 11 p.m. was connected to the crash.
Little Ponderosa Zoo needs your help
The Little Ponderosa Zoo in Clinton is asking for financial to help cover extra expenses brought on by this week’s winter weather. Zoo officials say they have increased the animals’ feed so they can keep warm in the frigid temperatures and are using seven propane heaters for animals that require a certain temperature. Employees are working 12 hour shifts to keep the animals safe. Most animals have been moved inside. The outside animals are being fed around the clock to increase their energy and their ability to stay warm. The zoo’s propane tank was filled Sunday, but on Thursday had to be refilled with a price tag over $1,000. Little Ponderosa is trying to raise $5,000 and is asking for help from the public. Those interested in donating can visit the Little Ponderosa Zoo’s website and click on the donate button. The zoo says all donations are tax deductible. Find out more and donate at www.littleponderosazoo.com.
Ice quake could be responsible for mysterious ‘booms’
Thursday on Ask Your Neighbor, we received a call from a woman who reported hearing a loud boom early Thursday morning. We can now confirm that it was not a transformer or explosive that made that sound, but rather it was likely a weather phenomenon called a cryoseismic boom, which is also known as an ice quake. It sometimes happens when frozen water expands quickly in the ground, according to the4 National Weather Service. Tennessee had the perfect storm, so to speak, to create these conditions, with all the snow and ice we've seen that melts during the day. That water runs into the ground, the temperatures drop dramatically and then the water in the ground freezes and expands, creating stress that results in a loud boom as it builds up. Officials at the National Weather Service say this activity is completely harmless.
HHS: 229+K Tennesseeans enroll through Marketplace
(HHS) On February 15, 2015, the second year of Open Enrollment came to a close with 229,093 Tennessee consumers selecting a plan or being automatically reenrolled in quality, affordable coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Nationwide, about 11.4 million Americans selected Marketplace plans or were automatically re-enrolled, including about 8.6 million people in the states that use the HealthCare.gov platform (such as Tennessee), and about 2.8 million in the State Based Marketplaces based on those states’ preliminary data.
Five Facts about Open Enrollment in Tennessee:
GSMNP sets January visitation record
(GSMNP) Record setting visitation to Great Smoky Mountains National Park continues in 2015, with 351,670 visitors enjoying the park in January. The National Park Service has maintained monthly visitation records since 1979. Since that time, visitation has never exceeded 351,000 in the month of January. Visitation was up at all major park entrances as well as the park’s outlying areas. This increase was noticeable at the park’s visitor centers, especially at Oconaluftee in North Carolina. The staff at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center welcomed 12,658 visitors in January, a 51% increase over 2014. Sugarlands Visitor Center staff saw a 13% increase in visitation compared to 2014. The record month 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. The national park not only welcomed a record number of visitors in January 2015, it also officially crossed a milestone in visitation. Since 1931, when the park’s first Superintendent, Major J. Ross Eakin arrived in the Smokies, over 500 million visitors have enjoyed Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Only the Blue Ridge Parkway and Golden Gate National Recreation Area have hosted more visitors during their existence. For more information about visitation, please go to the National Park Service Visitor Use Statistics web page at https://irma.nps.gov/Stats/.
Marlow VFD’s Chilcoat passes away
We have some sad news to report this afternoon as longtime community volunteer and friend to first responders across Anderson County Lin Chilcoat passed away Monday night at her home in the Marlow community, apparently from natural causes. Ms. Chilcoat was a member of the Marlow Volunteer Fire Department for many years, serving in a wide array of capacities, including stints as secretary and treasurer. She also would bring food and drinks to emergency crews while they were on scene in the department’s so-called “rehab truck.” In addition, she started as a volunteer and later became assistant director of the Anderson County Emergency Management Agency. As soon as funeral arrangements are announced, we will pass them along to you.
AC road crews out in force
In Anderson County, many secondary roads mostly remain ice and snow covered. Some primary roads have slick spots. Since the temperatures will fall to extreme lows over the next few days any wet spots will turn to ice and will remain hazardous. Travel is still not recommended unless an emergency. Deputies have responded to some minor traffic crashes today and there have been a few reports of downed trees but nothing major. Road Superintendent Gary Long says that he has all of his workers out, working from 6 am to 11 pm or later, and all of the department’s snow plows are in operation. Earlier today, Long told us that the coverage of ice and snow across the county is still pretty uniform with no place particularly worse than any other, but did lament that some of the areas where crews have been able to clear the roads after Monday’s winter weather event are being covered up again by the new snow falling today. Long also thanked citizens for their patience as his crews work to make roads passable but did warn this stuff isn’t going away any time soon.
Roane worker injured during storm cleanup
A Roane County Highway Department worker was injured Tuesday morning when a tree fell on him and trapped him. Officials say that Scott Martin had been working with a crew cutting down trees damaged by Monday’s ice storm when the tree came down and pinned him underneath. The incident happened in Rockwood. Fortunately, three of the passersby had medical training, including a doctor, and they stabilized Martin until paramedics arrived and transported him first to Roane Medical Center, where he was then flown to UT Medical Center. So far, there has been no report on his condition but we will keep you posted.
ORT: OR sees a few outages, 2 car vs. plow wrecks
(Oak Ridge Today) Several hundred customers were affected by power outages overnight Monday but most lost power for less than an hour, and two cars crashed into city snow plows, making one of the plows unusable for now, officials said.
There were no reports of injuries in the few minor crashes that occurred overnight.
Officials continued to urge drivers to stay off roads unless absolutely necessary. Some of them remain covered in ice, and vehicles that are required to travel, such as postal vehicles and Oak Ridge Public Works trucks, are using chains or studded tires.
Oak Ridge Electric Director Jack Suggs said the largest power outage was in an area around Montana Avenue and West Outer Drive at about 6 p.m. Monday. It affected about 440 people, but only lasted about 45 minutes, according to preliminary information, Suggs said.
He said the driver of one of the cars that hit a snow plow overnight was driving with a softball-sized peep hole cleared in her windshield. “She thought she cleared the truck, but she hit it,” Cinder said. He said the other car slid underneath a plow. No one was hurt in either case, but one of the trucks was rear-ended, and the back end, where the salt spreader is located, was damaged. The truck is now “out of commission,” Cinder said.
Union judge to hear case against Tunnell
A judge from Union County will preside over the case involving aggravated assault charges against 94-year-old Lawrence Tunnell, a former acting judge for the city of Oak Ridge. Tunnell is accused of hitting a man with his car after the alleged victim and other witnesses helped him get back into his car after he took a fall in a parking lot. When he tried to leave, Charles Smallwood stepped in front of Tunnell’s car to try and prevent him from leaving before EMS personnel arrived and Tunnell allegedly hit him, knocking Smallwood to the ground and sending him to UT Medical center for treatment of minor injuries. Both of Anderson County’s General Sessions court judges stepped aside, recusing themselves because they know Tunnell personally. Union County General Sessions Judge Darrell Edmonson will preside over Tunnell’s next scheduled court appearance on April 24th.
Follow-up: Stabbing victim dies
Following up on a story we brought you last week, a man allegedly stabbed by his stepson during an argument in Roane County last week has died. Fred Silvey died from his injuries on Sunday morning at UT Medical Center, according to authorities. His alleged killer and stepson Steven Edward Jones, was shot by his mother Carolyn Silvey following the attack, and is currently being treated at UT Medical Center, where he is being kept under guard. He is in stable condition at last check. The incident occurred at the Silvey home on Dry Hill Road last Wednesday night. Authorities say that Jones stabbed his stepfather Fred Silvey several times after an argument and that he assaulted his mother before she shot him and he fled into the woods. He managed to elude search teams from several different agencies that included helicopters and K-9 units until early this morning when he reportedly returned to the Silvey home and asked for medical treatment for a gunshot wound to his chest.
AAA offers cold-weather driving tips
Extremely cold weather is moving across the southeastern U.S. and AAA warns motorists to be careful and make sure their vehicles are prepared for an emergency. According to data from the Federal Highway Administration, each year, 24 percent of weather-related vehicle crashes occur on snowy, slushy or icy pavement and 15 percent happen during snowfall or sleet.
“The safest place to be during adverse weather conditions is indoors and that’s not always possible” said Don Lindsey, TN Public Affairs Director, AAA - The Auto Club Group. “It is imperative that motorists prepare their vehicles before winter conditions hit.”
Simply following safe driving habits like planning ahead, driving distraction free, and taking time to prepare your vehicle for winter weather driving conditions can help ensure you stay safe in the elements. According to a recent AAA Consumer Pulse™ survey, 47 percent of motorists are concerned with skidding or losing control of their vehicle while driving in winter weather; therefore, AAA recommends the following winter driving tips:
Emergency road kit - Carry an emergency kit equipped for winter weather. Make sure to include the following items:
Battery and charging system - Have the battery and charging system tested by a trained technician. A fully charged battery in good condition is required to start an engine in cold weather. For electric or hybrid-electric vehicles, several things can be done to minimize the drain on the batteries. If the vehicle has a thermal heating pack for the batteries, make sure your vehicle is plugged in whenever it is not in use. If the vehicle has a pre-heat function to warm the car interior, set it to warm the passenger compartment before you unplug it in the morning.
Roane wreck kills one, injures five
One man was killed and five people injured in a head-on collision on U.S. Highway 70 in Roane County Saturday afternoon. The crash happened around 1:44 p.m., according to Tennessee Highway Patrol, when Robin W. Ledbetter of Harriman was traveling west in a Chevy Trailblazer and the vehicle crossed the center line and struck Terrance A. Clark's Toyota Tacoma head-on, killing Clark. The THP says that Robin Ledbetter’s passengers were Alexis Robarge and Daniel R. Ledbetter, Jr, both of Harriman while Tabitha Clark and Leafe Clark, also of Harriman, traveled with Clark. The THP report indicates that Ledbetter may have been under the influence of drugs and that blood tests have been ordered. Five of the victims, including Terrance Clark, were not wearing seat belts at the time of the accident. Citations and criminal charges are pending.
JMS team wins LEGO competition
The Atomic Eagles of Oak Ridge’s Jefferson Middle School won the Champions Award at the 15th Annual FIRST LEGO League East Tennessee Championship held Saturday at Tennessee Tech in Cookeville in a 48-team field of children ages 9-14 from East and Middle Tennessee.
Coach Janie Shanafield said her team worked every day since last summer aiming toward the tournament.
“We would meet every Monday and Wednesday, some Saturdays and Sundays to work on our robot, our project and our presentation,” Shanafield said. “The kids did a lot of good work – they did all the work. “
The coach said her middle school age team continued to mature throughout the preparation.
“In their programming skills, their ability to work as a team and show the core values, they’ve matured tremendously with both engineering and with presentation skills,” Shanafield said. The Jefferson team advances to compete in a LEGO invitational tournament scheduled for May at the University of Arkansas.
Teachers, principals to be honored
Mark your calendars for March 31st as the Education Foundation for Clinton City and Anderson County Schools will host its annual Teacher & Principal of the Year Banquet. The event will begin at 6:30 pm on March 31st at the Family Life Center of First Baptist Church in Clinton. One teacher from each Clinton City and Anderson County school selected by their peers will be recognized as a “Teacher of the Year,” and four principals will also be honored. Sponsorships of all kinds are also still available for companies, groups and businesses and if you would like more information, call 865-463-1017 or visit www.TheEducationFoundation.info.
CHS Band update
Four Clinton HS Band members
baritone, 11th grade, Bryson Light, trombone, 9th grade, Danny Stone,
Director of Bands, Clinton High School, Matthew Tolson, tenor saxophone,
9th grade, Chris Webb, clarinet, 9th grade)
recently earned placement in the East
Tennessee School Band & Orchestra Association All East Band. Students
from all over East TN gathered in Gatlinburg in early February to
practice and perform as a group. Students participate in clinics & try
out against students from across East TN for placement in the
prestigious concert band. Moore and Tolson also earned the honor to
participate in the even more exclusive All State Band that will perform
in Memphis on April. Webb earned placement in the Jazz Clinic Band
playing bass guitar. The Clinic was held in Cleveland, TN in January.
The Drum Line will be at a competition at Halls High School on Saturday. The performance starts around 4:40 and open to the public. The next band concert will be presented Feb 26 in the gym at 6:30.
Maryland kid arrested after Roane threat
Roane County officials say that an arrest has been made in Maryland after a threat was made on social media involving Rockwood High School. State police in Maryland arrested a middle school student Thursday. The Roane County school district was alerted to the threat around 7 a.m. Thursday by a student. The post claimed something would happen to cause a lockdown. The Rockwood Police Department responded as did an officer from Harriman police with expertise in Internet crimes. Officers were able to trace the threat to Maryland where the young suspect was arrested. The school was never on lockdown, but extra officers were called in to make sure the school was well covered. The threat was allegedly made after an online “discussion” in the comments section of a social media site.
Roane domestic disturbance turns violent, suspect in custody
A domestic disturbance turned violent in Roane County’s Dry Hill community and led to a manhunt that lasted into the early morning hours and involved officers from several agencies. Our partners at BBB-TV report that 46-year-old Steven Edward Jones was taken into custody early this morning and taken to UT Medical Center after he was hot by his mother. The incident occurred at the home of Fred and Carolyn Silvey on Dry Hill Road at around 8 pm Wednesday night. Authorities say that Jones stabbed his stepfather Fred Silvey several times after an argument and that he assaulted his mother before she shot him and he fled into the woods. He managed to elude search teams from several different agencies that included helicopters and K-9 units until early this morning when he reportedly returned to the Silvey home and asked for medical treatment for a gunshot wound to his chest. During the search for Jones, who police believed could have been armed and was certainly to be considered dangerous, nearby residents were asked to stay inside and lock their doors. Roane County Sheriff Jack Stockton says that Jones had recently been released from prison. The nature of the argument that led to the stabbing has not been revealed.
ASAP: Foster Ally of the Year
(ASAP) The votes are in and the 2015 Anderson County Ally of the Year award goes to Larry Foster! Mr. Foster competed against other candidates who were nominated for their passion to create a healthy and productive Anderson County. Other candidates included Tom Byrge, Ronnie Fox, Tim Isbel, Robert Jones, and Bear Stephenson. Citizens were then able to “vote” for the candidate or candidates of their choice by making a donation to Allies for Substance Abuse Prevention (ASAP) of Anderson County. Each dollar counted as one vote and in the end Mr. Foster came out on top. Following closely behind in second place was Robert Jones followed by Ronnie Fox in third place. Each candidate conducted their own campaign, but all of the candidates were united by one goal: to use their leadership, influence and communication skills to raise funds to help prevent and reduce substance abuse in Anderson County. Over $4,600 was raised during the one month campaign, all of which will stay in Anderson County to support ASAP’s mission to prevent and reduce youth substance abuse in Anderson County by collaborating with community partners to implement effective intervention strategies. Please congratulate Larry Foster and all of the candidates who did a great job for a great cause. To learn more about ASAP or to make a donation, go to www.ASAPofAnderson.org or call 865-457-3007.
More on Rocky Top Bluegrass Festival 2015
The City of Rocky Top, Tennessee will present the inaugural Rocky Top Bluegrass Festival 2015, featuring 2 days/nights (Friday night and all day Saturday ) of pickin', singin', and dancin' in Good Ole' Rocky Top, Tennessee! The Festival kicks off Friday, April 24th and continues Saturday, April 25th at George Templin Memorial Athletic Field, located at 214 Main Street in Rocky Top, Tennessee!
Gates Open 4:30pm Friday. Music starts at 6pm. Music start at 11am Saturday
Tickets are $25.00 for Friday, $35.00 for Saturday or $50.00 for both days.
Children 10 and under get in free with a paid adult.
Buy tickets on line at http://www.rockytopbluegrassfestival.com/ or at Marks Pharmacy in Rocky Top, and at Rocky Top City Hall.
For information, you can also contact Stephanie Wells at the Anderson County Tourism Council by phone at 865-457-4547 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Special area accommodation packages are being offered including the following at KOA Campgrounds:
Packages include 2 nights camping plus 2 tickets for both days of festival.
All prices INCLUDE TAX
No Hook up Tent Site 134.16
Tent site with Electric 151.10
Water and Electric Only 160.00
Full Hook up 30 amp 172.30
Full Hook up 50 amp 176.54
Rustic Cabin sleeps 4 185.02
Rustic Cabin sleeps 6 195.62
Deluxe Cabin with bathroom sleeps 4 263.46
Check out the site types (with Pictures) on KOA.COM
May purchase extra tickets at campground office………Call 1-800-562-8513 and use BG as discount code for these rates
Clinton / Knoxville KOA
Phone: (865) 494-9386
Bell named OR Teacher of the Year
(Oak Ridge Today) Amelia Bell, a librarian at Glenwood Elementary School, has been named Teacher of the Year for the Oak Ridge school system.
Oak Ridge Schools announced their pick on Tuesday.
Bell is a librarian with 20 years of teaching experience, a press release said. She is a member of the Glenwood Leadership Team and has presented at several conferences, including the Tennessee Afterschool Summer Symposium and the American Association of School Librarians National Conference. She has also served as a lecturer in the School of Information Science at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.
In addition, Bell is a prolific grant writer, the release said. She has been instrumental in writing grants to support Glenwood’s after school programs, “learning lunches” to increase science instruction during the school day, book studies linking science and literature, and summer reading opportunities. Bell was awarded the Tennessee Association of School Librarians Innovative Library Award for creation of the lunchroom library so that students could read for pleasure after finishing lunch.
The press release said Bell collaborates with classroom teachers in order to link information literacy and literature to curriculum standards. She also incorporates information skills that can be applied across the curriculum, such as interpreting information from charts, tables, and graphs. Bell shares her passion for history and government by teaching information literacy skills in the context of social studies.
The release said Bell has led the development of student-based conferencing and coordinates family events such as Family Math Night, Science Saturday, and book fairs.
“Not only does Ms. Bell serve as librarian, she consults with classroom teachers about units of study and standards they are covering and then creates lessons to support classroom instruction in other content areas,” said Pearl Goins, principal of Glenwood Elementary School. “She has also formed a special reading club whereby students can establish goals and are rewarded with a special lunch with her in the library.”
The Teacher of the Year program in the State of Tennessee recognizes and honors outstanding teachers. The program is designed to “promote recognition, respect and appreciation for teacher, to stimulate interest in teaching as a career, and to encourage public involvement in education.”
Teachers of the Year must be facilitators of learning, be poised, articulate, enthusiastic, and energetic, the press release said. They must have a superior ability to inspire in students a love of learning, and they must show active involvement and leadership in extra-curricular activities, among other criteria.
CPD K-9 officers to take part in Read Across America
Clinton Police K9 Officers and their four-legged partners will help celebrate the upcoming "Read Across America" event at North Clinton Elementary School on March 2nd. Chief Rick Scarbrough said Sgt .Josh Queener and Officer Matt Howell are more than ready to read to the school's students, along with their partners “Mozzy “ and “Bronco.” The National Education Association's Read Across America is an annual reading motivation and awareness program that calls for every child in every community to celebrate reading on March 2, the birthday of beloved children's author Dr. Seuss.
Wells: Tourism important to AC
(Submitted by AC Tourism Director Stephanie Wells) The average family can expect to have an extra $1,475 in their budget this year if gas prices stay under $2, according to Dr. Steve Morse, Director and Economist of the Hospitality and Tourism Program at the College of Business at Western Carolina University. Addressing State Senators, Representatives and Mayors from across the 16-county region gathered for the Annual East Tennessee Tourism Legislative Brunch on Friday, Jan. 23, Dr. Morse predicted positive news for the Tourism industry in 2015.
“There’s a psychological effect of gas prices being down. You feel wealthier,” Dr. Morse said. “People will be able to stay an extra day on their vacation.”
Each household in Anderson County saves $254 in state and local taxes as a result of the taxes generated by tourist spending.
When tourists come to town, they pay sales tax each time they put gas in their cars, eat in the restaurants, pack their bags with souvenirs, and sleep at one of our local accommodations. They pay state and local taxes that result in savings for local residents and help fund local schools, roads and other infrastructure projects and essential services.
In Anderson County, those tourist expenditures added up to $111.63 million, according to the Economic Impact of Travel on Tennessee Counties 2013 by the U.S. Travel Association. In other words, the tourism industry generates $6.42 million in state tax revenues and $2.38 in local tax revenues. Additionally, tourism sustains 900 jobs and $18.03 million in resident wages.
“Anderson County’s economy is very diverse with industrial, commercial and tourism development. Having a diverse economy with tourism playing a vital part is the reason our county has grown and will continue to grow,” said Stephanie Wells, Anderson County Tourism Council Director.
The 16-county region has once again realized the benefit of a clean, green industry that quickly feeds tax dollars into the system. Tourist expenditures were just over $3.56 billion and the tourism industry employed over 32,495 people with $831.62 million in payroll for residents, generating $296.73 million in state and local taxes in 2013.
Molly Gilbert, Director of the Middle East Tennessee Tourism Council, said, “Even though tourism looks different in each of our 16 counties, tourism is an investment in quality of life for residents as well as a reason for tourists to visit. With nine lakes and five motorcycle driving trails, as a region we are leveraging our history and heritage, scenic beauty and outdoor adventure.”
Report: Suit filed against ORPD over wrongful arrest
According to the News-Sentinel, an Oak Ridge man has filed a lawsuit against the Oak Ridge Police Department over his erroneous arrest in January of last year. Trevis Reynolds was arrested in connection with a shoplifting that occurred at the Oak Ridge Wal-Mart even though the security camera footage clearly showed his roommate was the actual alleged shoplifter. The giveaway was that his roommate Randy Armes has multiple tattoos, including on his face and neck and Reynolds has no tattoos. The lawsuit alleges that Reynolds’ constitutional rights were violated by his wrongful arrest and seeks $1.5 million in damages. The lawsuit claims that Reynolds loaned his car to Armes that day and Armes was the man seen on video stealing items from the store. He was followed out of the store by loss prevention personnel and they wrote down the license tag of the car he was driving, which led police to Reynolds. In addition to the lack of tattoos, the lawsuit states that Officer Jeremy Upham should also have noted that Armes has short, dark hair and Reynolds has long, red hair. Despite those differences, the lawsuit states that Upham swore under oath that he had compared the video footage with Reynolds’ driver’s license picture and made a “positive match.” Prosecutors dropped the charges a little less than a week later after comparing the images for themselves. In addition to the ORPD, the lawsuit filed last month in US District Court in Knoxville also names Upham as a defendant. Reynolds is being represented by Clinton attorney Phil Harber.
AC creating task force on animal shelter needs
(County Mayor’s office) Because of increasing needs and a changing environment, Anderson County Government’s Operations Committee on Monday endorsed the idea of a Task Force to examine the potential for a county Animal Shelter.
“Anderson County has had a strong, long-standing relationship with the Oak Ridge Animal Shelter over the years and continues that solid, working partnership. However, as their shelter has moved more towards the housing and adoption of animals, the available contracted space for county animals has diminished. There have been two occasions where the Oak Ridge shelter was closed and there are times of overcapacity in Oak Ridge when fortunately, we were able to partner with the Roane County animal shelter to house animals. Simply put, there have been times when there is just no room,” Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank said in a press release issued Wednesday.
“We appreciate both officials in Oak Ridge as well as Roane County, but we also realize a long-term solution is needed for Anderson County,” said Mayor Frank. In the short-term, the county Budget Committee has authorized $25,000 for the construction of a small housing facility modeled after the facility operated by the City of Norris. This facility will serve to comply with state guidelines regarding minimum statutory holding requirements as a way to address some of the overcrowding in the Oak Ridge shelter and keep animals in Anderson County if a pet is lost. The Anderson County Commission will take up this recommendation at its regular meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 17.
In the short-term, animals picked up by Anderson County Animal Control officers will continue to be transported to either the Oak Ridge or Roane County facility.
Anderson County has two animal control officers, Brian Porter and Jimmy Miller.
Taking the lead on the Task Force are County Commissioner Theresa Scott, Mayor Frank, and Robin Biloski, who has devoted many hours to animal control in Anderson County in her position as county commissioner. The Task Force will take shape over the next few weeks and anyone interested in submitting ideas or volunteering in the effort is encouraged to call Commissioner Biloski, Commissioner Scott or Mayor Frank.
Follow-up: More on deputy-involved shooting in Roane
We now have more information on Monday night’s deputy-involved shooting in Roane County. Authorities have identified the man shot as 34-year-old Christopher Lee Powers of Rockwood and say that he has an extensive criminal history dating back to 2001. Powers was driving a Hyundai clocked going over 100 miles an hour on Highway 27 in Harriman at around 9 pm Monday night. That car was spotted and pursued by veteran Roane County Deputy John Mayes and the pursuit ended up headed west on I-40, where Powers allegedly tried to elude Mayes by driving in the emergency lane and passing other drivers recklessly. The chase ended at the Airport Road exit when Powers lost control of the car and crashed into a guardrail. Mayes blocked the car in and got out, ordering Powers to do the same. He was standing next to his cruiser when Powers hit the gas and slammed into the patrol car, which did not suffer significant damage. At that point, Mayes opened fire, hitting Powers through the windshield in the jaw, chest and right hand. Powers was taken to UT Medical Center where at last check he remained in serious condition. The woman in the car with him, identified as Stephanie Foland, was treated for injuries unrelated to the shooting at Roane Medical Center and released. However, she was then taken into custody on several outstanding warrants. Mayes, a K-9 officer with over ten years’ experience with the Sheriff’s Department, was not injured but has been placed on standard administrative lead while the TBI completes its investigation into the incident.
Campbell schools closed all week due to illness
Campbell County Schools will remain closed through Friday due to widespread illness among teachers and students alike. School officials say that by the end of the day Tuesday, 1100 students were out sick, just one day after about 1000 students missed class for illnesses that include primarily the stomach bug that has made the rounds this winter but also include a few cases of the flu. Crews will work to clean the schools during the long weekend. Students already had an extra day off Monday, Feb. 16 because of Presidents Day.
Follow-up: More on Clinton antique mention in national publication
As we told you this week, Fodor’s Travel, one of the leading travel publications and websites has released its list of the 10 Best Antiquing Towns in the U.S., and Clinton came in at #9. The list included Charleston, South Carolina, as well as several small towns, ranging from Hazel, Kentucky to locations in Iowa, Illinois and Minnesota. In signing the praises of Clinton, Fodor’s cited the presence of Clinton’s 12 Market Street area shops. Fodor’s publishes a wide array of travel guidebooks, websites and publications worldwide, relying heavily on local correspondents with in-depth knowledge of dining, shops and other travel information to assist tourists in learning about new and interesting destinations before they arrive.
TBI probing deputy-involved Roane shooting
The TBI is investigating an officer involved shooting in Roane County after a police chase ended with a sheriff's deputy firing his weapon through a car’s windshield. TBI says the shooting occurred at the Airport Rd. exit of I-40 West. A Roane County sheriff’s deputy clocked a Hyundai traveling at more than 100 miles an hour on Highway 27 in Harriman. The deputy turned on his lights and sirens and gave chase but instead of pulling over, the car entered I-40 westbound and the pursuit continued to the exit ramp at mile marker 340. There, the driver lost control and the car spun into a guardrail, where it came to a stop. The deputy got out of his car and was standing by his cruiser when the driver of the Hyundai drove forward and rammed the patrol car. That's when the deputy fired through the windshield, hitting the driver twice. The driver of the Hyundai was taken to Roane Medical Center in Harriman and was later transferred to UT Medical Center. A female passenger was also taken to the hospital for injuries unrelated to the shooting. The identities of those involved were not immediately released.
ORT: OR Council OKs ORPD investigation
(Oak Ridge Today/staff reports) The Oak Ridge City Council on Monday agreed to conduct an independent third-party review of turnover and morale in the Police Department but rejected a proposal to investigate the relationship between Police Chief Jim Akagi and City Manager Mark Watson, and possible violations related to an order of protection issued against the police chief in Blount County in 2012 and dismissed in 2013. The resolution to conduct an independent third-party review of the ORPD turnover was proposed by Council member Kelly Callison during a four-and-a-half-hour-long meeting on Monday night. It passed 7-0 after being amended to include a study of morale issues and administrative policies. Later in the meeting, Oak Ridge City Council member Charlie Hensley withdrew a motion to reprimand fellow Council member Trina Baughn for the way she has publicly handled the concerns about the Police Department. Baughn sent a memo to Watson last month that she also copied to several media outlets raising concerns about what she called the high turnover rate in the ORPD and complaints she had heard from current and former officers describing the chief as a tyrant and vindictive. The drumbeat of dissent in the city continued when some of those former officers, including Akagi’s predecessor David Beams, issued missives containing similar complaints and asking for a Council investigation into the department. Over two dozen residents and several former officers addressed the Council on Monday, some speaking against Akagi and others lauding his performance since talking over in 2011. The review is expected to be completed within 30 days of a firm being selected and the report will be delivered to City Council and the city manager.
ORT: OR Council OKs Preschool paint fix
(Oak Ridge Today) The Oak Ridge City Council Monday agreed to use $150,000 in red-light camera money to repair the lead-based paint on the city’s Preschool, providing what officials hope will be a short-term solution while they develop a plan to permanently repair, replace, or move the Preschool. The repairs, which could be done by August 3, were approved in a 6-0 vote. Oak Ridge City Council member Rick Chinn abstained because a family member owns a building on Mitchell Road that the city and schools could consider leasing. The City Council also endorsed a recommendation from the Oak Ridge Board of Education that could have children in a new building by the 2016-2017 school year. That resolution calls for further study of options for the Oak Ridge Preschools and Robert J. Smallridge School Administration Building on New York Avenue. It also would set up a joint city-schools committee, consider buying the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce building for school administration offices, and remodel the G Building at Oak Ridge High School. Officials say the Preschool building needs to be renovated or vacated for the Head Start program to receive federal funding in the 2015-2016 school year. They are hopeful that their plan to fix the lead-based paint on the decades-old home of the Preschool by early August will satisfy federal officials. A remediation plan could be submitted to federal officials and Anderson County education officials by March 4. The building is owned by the city, and the municipal staff would lead the repair project. The Preschool is used by about 200 students, including those in the Head Start program. Several options have been considered for the Preschool, including repairing the current building, constructing a new facility, leasing a new home for the preschool (or using a lease-purchase option), and splitting up the Preschool among the city’s elementary schools. The last option has been largely ruled out.
Smoky Mountains Trout Adventure Camp sign-ups underway
(Submitted) The fifth annual Great Smoky Mountains Trout Adventure Camp for middle school girls and boys, sponsored by the Tennessee Council of Trout Unlimited, will be June 15–20 at Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont (GSMIT) in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Trout Adventure is designed to give kids an appreciation and understanding of the importance of our aquatic resources with an emphasis on conservation, protection and restoration of coldwater ecosystems. Participants learn about stream ecology, brook trout restoration, stream physics and chemistry, fishing etiquette and aquatic entomology. They experience fly tying, fly fishing and snorkeling in Little River and its Middle Prong, along with some hiking and swimming.
GSMIT is a private, nonprofit residential environmental learning center in Walker Valley on the banks of Middle Prong, a coldwater stream containing brook, brown and rainbow trout. Facilities include dormitories, dining hall, classrooms, outdoor meeting shelters, bookstore/gift shop and full-time professional staff.
Trout Adventure 2015 will begin on Monday afternoon, June 15, and end at noon on Saturday, June 20. Girls and boys 12 to 15 years old as of June 15 are eligible to apply; Trout Unlimited will accept a total of 14 participants (a minimum of two girls). Tuition is $495; insurance coverage is supplied by GSMIT.
Campers should be in good physical condition. While Trout Adventure is not akin to a military boot camp, activities may be more physically demanding than some boys and girls are accustomed to.
Applications are being accepted from now through May 20 at http://www.tntroutadventure.org. Applications can be completed and submitted online, or can be mailed or emailed to John Thurman, email@example.com, P.O. Box 546, Norris, TN 37828. Applicants will be notified of their status within three days of receipt of their application.
When families are notified that their children have been selected, they will be provided a GSMIT registration form and other information. Financial assistance may be available through your area’s Trout Unlimited chapter.
Middle School Science Bowl Round-Up
(DOE) The fifth annual U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) East Tennessee Middle School Science Bowl held Saturday, Feb. 7 at the Roane State Community College, Oak Ridge Campus highlighted the academic expertise of students representing 12 Tennessee middle schools. The Middle School Science Bowl is a competition which tests participants’ knowledge in mathematics and the sciences. This year 16 teams, composed of the state’s brightest middle school students, were quizzed in a fast-paced question and answer format similar to the Jeopardy television game show. Each team included four student competitors, an alternate, and a coach who also served as the team’s advisor.
After an intense competition, three winning teams emerged. The winning teams also received monetary awards:
Schools participating in this year’s competition include Blount Home Education Association, Jefferson Middle School, Webb School, St. Mary’s School, Cedar Springs Homeschool, Norris Middle School, Powell Middle School, Concord Christian School, Farragut Middle School, Cedar Bluff Middle School, Trinity Christian Academy and Oliver Springs Middle School. For additional information about the DOE’s East Tennessee Middle School Science Bowl visit http://www.amse.org/.
One killed in Friday Roane wreck
A Friday afternoon traffic accident in Harriman killed an Oakdale man. The Tennessee Highway Patrol says the crash happened at around 12:40 pm Friday when 74-year-old Samuel Norman of Harriman attempted to turn left from Little Emory Road on to State Highway 61 in his Chevy SUV and failed to yield to a Nissan sedan being driven by 77-year-old Merley Tilson of Oakdale, pulling into the car’s path. Tilson’s car was knocked off the roadway into a large ditch, where his car overturned. Norman’s SUV spun and came to rest in the westbound lanes of Highway 61. Tilson was injured and a passenger in his car identified as 79-year-old Elmer Solomon of Oakdale died in the crash despite wearing his seatbelt. Norman was not injured in the wreck and the THP report indicates that no charges or citations have been filed.
ORT: More ex-ORPD officers asking for investigation
According to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, four former Oak Ridge police officers have asked the City Council to investigate some of the concerns recently raised about the Police Department and its chief, or to hear the concerns of officers. The officers were responding to recent news reports about the police department and concerns raised about its turnover rate, as well as alleged policy violations included in a mid-January grievance filed by former Oak Ridge Police Department Officer Christopher Bayless. The officers expressed a range of concerns that include the alleged policy violations by Police Chief Jim Akagi and a Blount County order of protection in effect from April 2012 to June 2013, questions about the turnover rate and the chief’s leadership, and decisions about promotions, spending, and weapons.
The City Council will consider dueling resolutions on the topic during its Monday night meeting.
The first, requested by Council member Trina Baughn, would open an investigation into the police chief, including the allegations raised by Bayless, and the concerns raised by Beams, Mansfield, and someone who has written to City Council under the pseudonym “Bobby Hill.” It would also investigate the relationship between Akagi and Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson before the police chief was hired and determine whether Akagi violated the order of protection, which was issued in Blount County by Circuit Court Judge Tammy M. Harrington.
The second resolution to be considered Monday, which was requested by Council member Charlie Hensley, would reprimand Baughn, remove her from all committee assignments, and ask her to stop “premature release of biased and negatively spun information” before it’s been verified and discussed by the entire Council.
It’s not clear which resolution, if either, the Council might support. Either one would require a second for discussion and four votes to be approved.
Besides Hensley, a few other Council members have also expressed concern about the process used by Baughn, and one member, Kelly Callison, said last week that he might propose an alternative to the resolutions proposed by Baughn and Hensley.
The Council will also consider spending $150,000 to address lead-based paint concerns on the exterior walls of the city’s preschool and establish a procedure to begin looking for a replacement for the decades-old facility. The City Council meets tonight at 7 pm in the Courtroom of the Oak Ridge Municipal Building.
Clinton’s antique district earns national recognition
National travel magazine Fodor’s has ranked the city of Clinton as the ninth best place in the nation to go antiquing. Here is what the writers of the article had to say about Clinton and its antique district:
“Dedicate at least a day to the wonders to be found on the Clinton Antique Trail, Tennessee’s antique hub that hugs the Clinch River. With a population of almost 10,000, Clinton offers visitors small-town, southern charm with an emphasis on antiques. Featuring nearly everything from American and European to Primitive period furnishings, start your picking with handcrafted furniture and fun home décor items at Burrville Antiques, the area’s oldest antique shop. The next stop on the trail is The Antique Market, where a 1900s era building houses antiques, primitives, and quality collectibles. The trail continues on to another 12 antique shops with seemingly endless piles of treasure.
Insider Tip: Though there is no relation to the famed television series, a visit to Golden Girls Restaurant is a must while visiting Clinton, as their breakfasts speak to the country appetite (fresh biscuits and grits) and are as affordable as they are delicious.” View the complete list and pictures at http://www.fodors.com/news/photos/10-best-antiquing-towns-in-the-us#!1-intro
OR Schools on the Run 5K coming in March
The first Oak Ridge Schools on the Run 5K is scheduled for March 21, organizers said. “Come join the schools, city, and community of Oak Ridge in their first annual 5k,” the Oak Ridge Track Club said in a notice posted on its website. “The race will be held at the beautiful Melton Lake Park!” The standard registration is $25. It’s $20 for school and municipal employees, and $10 for students. There will be awesome T-shirts for all pre-registered runners,” the notice said. Race-day T-shirts will be available as supplies last. There will be awards for the overall top male and female finishers, the top three in each age group, masters, grand masters, and senior grand masters. Any Oak Ridge student who participates in a morning exercise program can register for free with a paying adult, the notice said. Registration will begin at Melton Lake Pavilion at 6:45 a.m. Saturday, March 21. The race will start at 8 a.m.
See the Oak Ridge Track Club website for more information, including online registration.
Jacksboro detective laid to rest
Hundreds of people in Campbell County assembled Thursday to mourn the loss of a longtime and popular detective with the Jacksboro Police Department. Mike Starrett was killed on January 23rd while responding to a fatal accident on Highway 116 when his car was hit head-on by another driver. He passed away late Friday January 30th at UT Medical Center. His funeral service was held Thursday morning at the Indiana Avenue Baptist Church in Lafollette and after the service, his funeral procession was joined by dozens of officers from nearby law enforcement agencies and some citizens lined the route of the procession to pay their respects. Starrett was a Campbell County Sheriff’s deputy for four years before joining the Jacksboro Police Department 12 years ago. He was also a founder of the Justice Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club.
Coal Creek Scholars busy this spring
(Submitted) Coal Creek Scholars are organizing the annual trash cleanup activity along Fraterville Miners Memorial Highway (i.e. Highway 116) from Briceville School to Joe Day Bridge. A tentative date for the event is Saturday, March 14th from 9:00 am until noon. We will meet at Briceville School at 9:00 am to organize into teams. A cash prize of $100 will be awarded to the team collecting the most trash. Details from past cleanup events can be found at http://www.coalcreekaml.com/TrashDayLinkPage.htm.
(Submitted) The Coal Creek Miners Museum board/volunteers and the City of Rocky Top have been applying for grants to fund the remodel of the new Coal Creek Miners Museum building. Before the holidays, they applied for an Appalachian Resource Commission grant and two other grants from private foundations. Meanwhile, a Spring Cleaning Day will be held at the future home of the museum. If you would like to help, plan on meeting at the future museum on April 11th at 9 a.m. We will work until noon. The museum cleaning will be the last community service opportunity for Coal Creek Scholars who are seniors at Anderson County High School to qualify for CCWF scholarships.
TSSAA shines spotlight on OR AD
(Oak Ridge Today/TSSAA) Mike Mullins, the athletic director at Oak Ridge High School, has been recognized by the TSSAA for his distinguished service as an administrator. The TSSAA, or Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association, administers junior and senior high school sports. A story in the Winter 2015 issue of TSSAA News said Mullins is finishing his ninth year as athletic director at ORHS and his 29th year in interscholastic athletics and education. The TSSAA article said Mullins has spearheaded a number of capital improvement projects. “The most striking undertaking is the Wildcat Arena, a part of a $61 million renovation to Oak Ridge High School,” the story said. “This state-of-the-art facility is home to the Wildcat basketball and volleyball teams and is one of the finest high schools in the state.” Other upgrades completed under Mullins include the Pro2Serve soccer complex, newly renovated weight room, and many locker room enhancements. There are also plans for a multi-million dollar renovation of historic Blankenship Field. Before he was named athletic director in 2005, Mullins was assistant athletic director for the Oak Ridge Wildcats for four years. Since Mullins became AD, the Wildcats have won six state championships, had five runner-up finishes, and earned “countless sectional, regional, and district titles,” the story said. There have been individual awards as well, and Mullins has assembled a highly regarded coaching staff and been awarded the 2009-2010 A.F. Bridges Athletic Director of the Year Award, TSSAA News said. Mullins and his wife Karla, a teacher at Oak Ridge High School, live in Oak Ridge, and they have two sons, Aaron and Austin.
Clinton issues demolition permit for Magnet Mills
The city of Clinton last month issued a demolition permit for the historic, but long-vacant Magnet Mills building on Charles Seivers Boulevard. Clinch River Properties LLC has six months from the date the permit was issued—January 23rd—to begin the demolition project. The city says it will hold periodic hearings to receive updates on the project, the first of which is scheduled for February 26th. A tenant who had been using the former mill as a storage facility was evicted last year by the property owners and the city has given Clinch River Properties until February 24th to remove several junk vehicles from the property. City leaders have long been exploring ways to either have the building renovated or demolished. Coupled with TDOT’s replacement of the green bridge on Highway 25W—Clinton Highway/Clinch Avenue—that connects Clinton and South Clinton later this year, the face of Clinton’s riverfront will look radically different by this time next year.
National Signing Day local recruiting round-up
Wednesday was national Signing Day for high school athletes and as you have no doubt heard by now, the University of Tennessee brought in a recruiting class ranked among the top 5 by most football scouting services. Among the student-athletes who signed with UT was Coalfield lineman Zach Stewart, a two-time Mr. Football Award winner. He was actually the first member of the class of 2015 to fax the school his signed letter of intent. Anderson County standout running back Matt Fox signed to play at ETSU while fellow Maverick Bronson Black is headed to the University of the Cumberlands. Oak Ridge had several football players sign scholarship offers, led by Isaac Chapman heading to UT-Martin. Shawmain Fleming of Oak Ridge will head to Tusculum while his high school teammates Zach Kassner and Ted Mitchell are headed to Carson-Newman. Midway’s Hayden Hester will also play at Carson-Newman and Kingston’s Zach redden will play for Tusculum. Former Clinton, Lenoir City and West High School standout Camion Patrick, who had once committed to UT, signed to play major college football at Indiana. He spent last season at a junior college. Clinton High School’s Nick Bowling signed a swimming scholarship to Union College. Congratulations to all of these student-athletes and good luck. We know you will make the area proud.
Woman’s suicide prompts lockdown at Fairview
Fairview Elementary School was placed on lockdown early Tuesday afternoon while law enforcement investigated a woman’s death. According to Joe Forgety with the Anderson County School system, a man found a suicide note written by his wife that indicated she was “headed to Fairview.” Officials were not clear as to her destination and placed the school on lockdown. The woman apparently parked her car adjacent to the school, walked into the woods on the opposite side of the playground and shot herself. The lockdown was lifted and parents were brought in a separate entrance to pick up their children while the investigation took place. The reason for the alternate entrance was that the road directly in front of the school was identified as the best staging area for deputies and other emergency personnel. The school was never in danger. WYSH does not identify suicide victims.
Mark calendars: K’garten Round Up coming in May
The Anderson County School System has scheduled its Early Kindergarten Registration or “Kindergarten Round-up” for students entering school for the first time. Children must be age 5 on or before August 15, 2015. The Kindergarten Round-up dates listed below are for each of the Schools within the Anderson County School System. Please choose the school for which your child is zoned. If you are unsure of which Anderson County School zone in which you live, please contact the Transportation Department at 457- 7789 with your current address and they will assist you. If, for any reason, you cannot attend Kindergarten Roundup at the School for which your child is zoned, please come to the elementary school your child is zoned for to complete the registration process for your child. Registration is open Monday - Friday from 8:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. at this location. However, please have your up-coming Kindergarten child registered on or before June 2, 2015 in order for the School System to make important arrangements, such as hiring adequate personnel and ordering sufficient materials and supplies for the correct number of students prior to the first day of school.
Anderson County School System’s Kindergarten Round-up Schedule 2015-16 School Year
Parents must bring the following documents in order to complete the Registration Process for their child:
PROOF OF AGE - State issued birth certificate or “mother’s copy” will be sufficient.· SOCIAL SECURITY CARD – If for some reason you cannot locate your child’s Social Security Card, you should go to the Social Security Office to apply for a duplicate card. You may bring your copy of this application with the number on it for Registration purposes.
PROOF OF PHYSICAL EXAM & IMMUNIZATION RECORD– Your Child’s Physical Exam must have been done on or after January 1, 2015. All Immunizations must be up to date and placed on the state required form that you may obtain from the Anderson County Health Department or your doctor’s office. Health Department personnel will transfer your child’s immunizations to the official immunization form if you take an immunization record with you. However, if you do not have an immunization record for your child, you may obtain one from the Anderson County Health Department.
PROOF OF RESIDENCE – You must bring an appropriate item that verifies the correct physical address of where the child actually resides. If your driver’s license has the correct address, this will be sufficient. Other acceptable items include (but are not limited to): a piece of mail addressed to you with your correct mailing address, a copy of the lease or rent receipt with a current date, utility service hook-up card, etc. LEGAL DOCUMENTATION – If the child does not reside with both legal parents, a copy of the· legal paperwork must be provided. This provides the School System with the legally correct information pertaining to child custody and prevents future problems from developing. We are always concerned for the safety and welfare of your child. This is an exciting time for your child and possibly a frightening time for the parent when enrolling a child into school for the first time. School System Personnel are always eager to meet and greet our new young students and their parents. We encourage you to become an active participant at the school where your child will be attending. Research has proven many times that a child receives the very best education possible when the parent and school personnel work together AS A TEAM in educating a child! Your child and your child’s school really need your help and support! For more, visit us online, visit the school system’s website at www.acs.ac or call Brittany Bradley at 865-463-2800, extension 2829.
AC Senior Center about to become reality
The Anderson County Office on Aging and the Council on Aging have found a location to open up an expanded Office on Aging and create a full-blown Senior Center serving Clinton and Anderson County. The new location will be in the old Food Stamp building on Charles Seivers Boulevard, just west of the intersection of Clinch Avenue and Seivers. The new center is being rented to the Office and Council on Aging at a discounted rate because, as Director Cherie Phillips said this morning, “they want to give back to the community. The new facility measures some 7500 square feet and will be used for health education classes, activities, social events, lunches, evidence-based programs, meetings on issues affecting seniors and anything else that “will help seniors have a better life,” according to Phillips. The exact date of the move has not been nailed down but it will be soon, according to Phillips. In the meantime, officials need dozens of items to run the Senior Center the way they feel it should be run and are asking for donations from the community. You can see a complete list of the needed items on the Local Information News page of our website. For more information, you can call the Office on Aging at 865-457-3259.
ORT: Controversy over ORPD headed to Council
According to Oak Ridge Today, the brewing controversy over the Oak Ridge Police Department and its leadership under Chief Jim Akagi will head to the City Council Monday night. Oak Ridge City Council member Trina Baughn has called for an investigation of the police chief. Fellow Council member Charlie Hensley meanwhile wants the Council to reprimand Baughn. The two Council members have submitted dueling resolutions that could be considered on Monday. Either resolution would require a second from another Council member to be discussed, and four votes to be approved. Both resolutions come after over a week of accusations and allegations focused, in particular, on the management of the Oak Ridge Police Department by Chief Jim Akagi and raised questions about the ORPD’s turnover rate and whether it is high. Some of the most blistering criticism has come from former Oak Ridge Police Chief David Beams. Our partners at Oak Ridge Today report that some city officials and business owners are concerned that the negative publicity surrounding this controversy might have a negative impact on economic development and the recruitment of residents while others argue that there are legitimate concerns that need to be investigated. Baughn’s resolution calls for a City Council investigation of certain alleged actions by the police chief as well as his relationship to the city manager. Hensley’s resolution, meanwhile, asks City Council to show its disapproval and officially rebuke Baughn. It wouldn’t have legal weight, but it would serve as a reprimand. It would ask Baughn to “cease premature release of biased and negatively spun information prior to verification and discussion by City Council as a whole.” In an email to city officials, Hensley said Baughn has released negatively biased information and unverified accusations to the media without consideration, discussion, and deliberation by the Council. Hensley’s resolution also requests that Baughn be removed from all of her current committee assignments. The Oak Ridge City Council will meet Monday, February 9th at 7 p.m. in the Courtroom of the Oak Ridge Municipal Building. For much more on this story, please visit www.oakridgetoday.com.
ACSD: 2 arrested in recent weeks on child pornography charges
Two men have been arrested in recent weeks on unrelated charges dealing with the possession of child pornography after indictments were returned in January by the Anderson County Grand Jury. 29-year-old Mario Luis Castilla of Rocky Top was indicted on three counts of aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor and arrested on January 8. 30-year-old Jeremy Keegan Cosgrove of Oak Ridge was indicted on two counts of aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor and arrested on January 31. These are separate, unrelated cases in which charges were filed after two investigations by the Sheriff’s Criminal Investigations Unit along with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force of which the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department is a member. Each was indicted for allegedly having images of child pornography on their computers. Both are free on bonds totaling $75,000 each.
Follow-up: More on bridge repair project
Following up on a story you first heard about on WYSH, crews on Monday began the long-awaited repair of the bridge on Johnson Gap Road in Anderson County’s Dutch Valley community. In July of 2013, state inspectors ordered the bridge closed immediately after determining it was unsafe for travel due to structural problems. Residents of Dutch Valley routinely used Johnson Gap, and consequently, the bridge as the primary shortcut to and from Clinton and Oak Ridge, and complained about having to take longer alternate routes. While some officials had worried about longer emergency response times, those problems did not surface, but residents still grew increasingly frustrated over the railroad’s delays in getting the project started. The bridge is owned by CSX and after its closure, offered the county two options. The first option was to take over the bridge from the company and replace it with a concrete structure at county expense and the second was to have the company fix it and foot the bill. County commissioners last spring voted for the latter offer but officials and residents became frustrated all over again when the company offered tentative starting dates and then would extend its timetable. CSX has addressed the labor and other problems that led to their many delays and late last year, awarded a contract to repair the 100-year-old bridge. Weather permitting, the project is expected to be wrapped up within the next four weeks.
ORT: 3 OR teachers earn honors
(Oak Ridge Today) Oak Ridge Schools has announced three of its teachers of the year. The three building-wide teachers of the year are:
In a press release, school officials said they will soon announce the selection of the system-wide Teacher of the Year, selected from one of these three candidates.
Amelia Bell, Glenwood Teacher of the Year, is a librarian with 20 years of teaching experience. She is a member of the Glenwood Leadership Team, a prolific grant writer, and has been awarded the Tennessee Association of School Librarians Innovative Library Award, the press release said.
Bell has led the development of student-based conferencing, and she coordinates family events such as Family Math Night, Science Saturday, and book fairs. Bell is also the extended school day program grant manager.
Bell shares her “passion for history and government by teaching information literacy skills in the context of social studies,” the press release said.
Amy Fuqua, Linden Teacher of the Year, is a second grade teacher with 16 years of teaching experience. Fuqua is a data coach and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) innovator for Oak Ridge Schools and also serves as a member of the Linden Leadership Team.
Fuqua does a lot of work with technology in the classroom, from the Promethean Board, to Dreambox Learning, to iPods.
Lisa Meidl, Willow Brook Teacher of the Year, is a librarian with 5.5 years of teaching experience. Meidl is secretary for the Center for Children’s and Young Adult Literature at the University of Tennessee. She learns the state standards for all elementary grade levels in order to better collaborate with classroom teachers and help students set and meet their goals.
The Teacher of the Year program in the State of Tennessee recognizes and honors outstanding teachers. A Teacher of the Year candidate must be a full-time certificated teacher in a public school. The candidate must spend the majority of the school day in direct instruction of students, be in at least the fifth year of teaching in Tennessee public schools, and have a track record of exceptional gains in student learning. Teachers of the Year must be skilled in implementing creative teaching strategies, exceptionally dedicated, knowledgeable and skilled, and have a superior ability to teach, the press release said.
The City of Rocky Top has announced its meeting schedule for the month of February.
For more information call Rocky Top City Hall at 865-426-2838
CONTACT CareLine announces board appointments
CONTACT Care Line of East Tennessee is proud to announce five new members of its board of directors. Entering its fifth decade of providing a listening ear to neighbors in crisis, CONTACT joined the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, launched a chat service, and expanded its Reassurance service to elderly men and women who need a daily call.
“Our new board members bring strong professional backgrounds and a desire to make sure no one feels alone when they’re facing difficulties,” board Chairwoman Roslyn Robinson said. “A simple telephone call to CONTACT can stop a downward spiral, connect callers with community resources and, many times, even save a life.”
Board members who began three-year terms in January are:
· Chris Elledge, assistant professor of clinical psychology, University of Tennessee.
· LaShanda Miller, director of talent management, ORAU.
· Mary Jinks, who recently retired as vice president of public service for the University of Tennessee.
· Matt Shafer-Powell, director of news content/executive producer, WUOT.
· Susan E. Joyce Schmiesing, healthcare services coordinator for United Health Care.
· Liz Clary, vice president of behavioral services at Covenant Health
Founded in 1973, CONTACT trains volunteers to field telephone calls and chat messages from individuals with a variety of needs.Volunteers help callers through moments of crisis or bring trained professionals to the conversation when warranted.
In 2014, CONTACT joined the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, fielding calls from Knox County as well as local Crisis Line calls. Over the summer, CONTACT launched a new Crisis Chat Portal to better serve at-risk youth. The Reassurance and Crisis Line programs give people the emotional support they need and reduce the barriers to getting mental health services. These programs are vital for addressing undiagnosed and untreated mental illness—a major risk factor for suicide. To learn more about the crisis call center or make a donation online, please visit contactcarelinetn.org/donate.
ACSD nabs suspected burglar, carjacker
Friday, Anderson County Sheriff’s deputies arrested a 27 year-old Oliver Springs man after a series of crimes at a home on Talley Lane in the Marlow community. John Joseph Pixley II was arrested after the homeowner observed a truck on her surveillance cameras via a web feed and a suspect, later identified as Pixley, was seen walking around her residence. The property owner called the Sheriff’s Communications Center around 8:30am Friday to report the incident, left work, and drove home. Upon arriving, according to a release from the ACSD Pixley was seen leaving with items from the residence in the bed of his truck. As the driveway was only wide enough for one car, Pixley attempted to drive around the homeowner’s car but instead went up an embankment and overturned, striking the woman’s vehicle. A co-worker of the homeowner also arrived driving his tow truck. Pixley broke out his own window, extricated himself from his overturned pickup, ran to the tow truck, and, after a fight with the co-worker, stole the tow truck and fled. Several deputies responded to this call and the stolen tow truck description was broadcast to area law enforcement agencies. A short time later the truck was spotted by officers from the Oliver Springs Police Department and was stopped. Pixley was taken into custody by deputies and taken to the Anderson County Detention Facility, where he is being held without bond pending his arraignment on charges of theft, theft of a motor vehicle, carjacking and two counts of aggravated assault.
Suspect in woman’s disappearance fired from UT gig
A man described as a person of interest in the disappearance of a Middle Tennessee woman has been fired from, his custodial job at the University of Tennessee. Nikki Burgess was last heard from in May 2014. A few days later, investigators searched the Anderson County home of Caleb Cannon for clues in her disappearance. Cannon, the father of Burgess’ son, has been named a person of interest. A Nashville Metro Police investigator said that cadaver dogs twice “alerted to the presence of human decomposition.” One of the hits from the dogs was in Burgess’ Hermitage home. The second was in the trunk of a vehicle registered to Cannon. A detective says in court documents that he believes Burgess was killed and her body taken from her home to an unknown location inside the trunk of the vehicle belonging to Cannon. Cannon was fired on Tuesday from a custodial job at UT, and because he was still under probation, the university said it does not need to give a reason to fire him.
Jacksboro PD Detective dies from wreck injuries
A Jacksboro Police Department detective who was critically injured in a head on collision last Friday afternoon has died, according to the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office and the Tennessee Highway Patrol. Det. Mike Starrett was on his way to assist at the scene of a crash on Highway 116 in Caryville when he was hit head-on. Starrett underwent several surgeries since the accident. Officials say Det. Starrett died Friday evening at UT Medical Center. The driver who struck his cruiser will face citations and criminal charges according to the THP report.
ORNL welcomes Girl Scout leader
Girl Scouts of the USA Chief Executive Officer Anna Maria Chavez visited the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory to learn about its efforts on behalf of science, technology, engineering and math education (STEM) programs and how they can be incorporated into the Girl Scouts national program. “We have actually always been focused on science and math with girls and Girl Scouts from the earliest days when our founder, Juliette Gordon Low, was teaching girls about science activities,” Chavez said. “She was teaching them to weld. Clearly, that has been part of our DNA for 102 years. We also knew that girls wanted those activities and they were correlated activities to their school work.” Using the example of Liane Russell, who helped develop ORNL’s renowned mammalian genetics program following World War II, Chavez said the Laboratory’s past and present are filled with women making a difference in science. “She was before her time,” Chavez said of Russell. “They even have a scholarship named in her honor. I was telling to the director here how important it is for girls to see role models in the science, engineering, technology and math fields because girls can’t be what they can’t see.
ORT: Controversy, acrimony fly in OR
(Oak Ridge Today) According to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson said he has “absolute confidence” in Police Chief Jim Akagi and has no plans to further investigate concerns raised last week by City Council member Trina Baughn. Baughn raised concerns about the turnover rate in the Oak Ridge Police Department and claims made in a grievance filed by former officer Chris Bayless. In a Sunday email, Baughn said her calculations showed that the police force had lost 30 members in 3.5 years under Akagi, and that equates to 11.7 per year, or an estimated 15 percent turnover rate. Baughn said some officers who have resigned felt “forced out,” while others who remain are “just counting the days” until they can leave. “I believe that our turnover issues are not a reflection on the character of the majority of our men and women in blue; rather they are attributable to leadership,” Baughn said in an email to Watson and carbon-copied to Oak Ridge City Council members and reporters. She said she is ready to help Watson “immediately address these problems and stabilize our police department.” But city officials questioned Baughn’s numbers and said they don’t think the turnover rate is significantly out of line with what it has been previously. On average, 7.25 employees per year have left in the last four years due to resignations, retirements, or being asked to leave, Watson said Thursday. “I don’t think it’s a significant change,” he said.
Watson said police departments can have the second-highest turnover for municipal governments, trailing only the lowest-level jobs.
Watson said he has not had concerns about the management of the Oak Ridge Police Department. Many prospective officers want to work in Oak Ridge, Watson said, pointing out that 65 people applied the last time there was an opening.
He said the department is more professional than before, security has improved, and employees have new office space while officers have new cars.
“We’ve come a long way,” Watson said.
Watson said no other Council member besides Baughn has expressed concern about the Police Department.
Oak Ridge Mayor Warren Gooch, who was elected in November, said he has talked to thousands of residents during the past six months, and very few mentioned dissatisfaction with the Police Department or with crime.
“Oak Ridgers that I talk to are focused on and concerned about the development of Main Street, the Preschool, the new national park, and funding for the Department of Energy missions in Oak Ridge,” Gooch said. “That’s what I’m focused on.”
Watson and other city officials expressed concern about the impact the negative publicity this week might have on economic development and projects ranging from the Preschool to Main Street Oak Ridge.
The information published this week has included excerpts from a letter from former Oak Ridge Police Chief David Beams that was highly critical of Watson and Akagi, relying in least in part on what Beams has heard from officers and supervisors, and claims by Bayless that, among other things, he was going to be sanctioned with a letter of reprimand and 48-hour suspension only after he submitted his resignation notice this month (it was effective January 23) for an incident that occurred in November. He said he had never had any disciplinary action before then, and he perceived the proposed punishment as an attempt to humiliate him and “diminish my moral character and professional career.”
Watson overruled that disciplinary decision this month, saying it was time to let the officer move on. “That thing was handled,” Watson said Thursday. He said he thinks the city needs to avoid having disciplinary issues play out in public because it affects careers, families, and employees.
Bayless, who had other complaints about the chief as well, called for an investigation of the Police Department, claiming that officers are leaving due to Akagi’s lack of leadership skills. Read much more on this story, including Chief Akagi’s response to the letter from former Police Chief David Beams at www.oakridgetoday.com.
DOE: Y-12 building “worst of the worst”
A building at Y-12 in Oak Ridge now holds the dubious distinction of being the "worst of the worst" in a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) report detailing its high-risk facilities. The agency declared the Alpha-5 building at Y-12 the "worst of the worst" of more than 200 facilities in an audit released earlier this week. Alpha-5 was built in 1944 as part of the Manhattan Project and through the years, had been used in a number of missions that used materials like uranium, mercury and beryllium. The facility still houses utilities that serve production facilities at Y-12, but it hasn't been operational itself since 2005. An assessment of Alpha-5 conducted last year revealed that the building's roof was leaking, spreading hazardous and radioactive materials inside the building. Officials also indicated in the audit that there's a risk of explosion. "Overall, the assessment concluded that this facility presents a high risk to the workers and environment and should not be accepted," according to the report. Corroded pipes and deteriorating roof panels also caused substantial flooding in 2008. The DOE has spent more than $24 million in operating and maintenance costs since the 2008 evaluation of Alpha-5. The DOE audit concluded that the only safe option is to tear down the large building.
ORT: Suicidal woman points gun at arriving officers
(Oak Ridge Today) A woman who said she wanted to end her life was pointing a handgun out the doorway of an Orange Lane home and pulling the trigger as officers arrived on a welfare check Wednesday night, authorities said. The Oak Ridge Police Department responded to the home at 8:01 p.m. Wednesday. They were dispatched to check the welfare of a resident who was reported to be intoxicated and attempting to commit suicide with a handgun. “Upon arrival, Officers Derek Burchfield and Timothy Buckner observed a 64-year old female subject at the front door of the residence, pointing a handgun out the doorway and pulling the trigger,” the ORPD and City of Oak Ridge said in a press release. “Officers immediately took cover and ordered her to place the weapon on the ground,” the release said. “After a short verbal exchange, she complied with the officers’ commands and was taken into custody, whereupon she stated that she wanted to end her life.” The woman, who was not identified, was taken to Methodist Medical Center for evaluation and treatment. A Ruger semi-automatic pistol was recovered at the scene and seized by officers for safekeeping, the press release said.
Traffic stop ends with arrest
A late night traffic stop ended with the arrest of a Clinton woman by Anderson County Sheriff’s deputies on Tuesday. Corporal Bradley Prewitt reported that he had clocked a Honda Accord traveling 63 miles an hour in a 45 mile an hour zone on Laurel Road at around 10 pm Tuesday and pulled over 27-year-old Heather Kohler of Clinton, who the deputy noted appeared extremely nervous. When asked if she had drugs in the car, Kohler replied that she was not sure if she “cleaned all of them out following her last arrest,” according to the incident report. Kohler agreed to a search of the car and inside, Prewitt reported finding two small baggies of a white powder Kohler admitted was subutex that she had ground with the intent o sneak it into the jail if she were to be arrested. Prewitt found other controlled substances in the car along with several items commonly used to make meth, including a plastic baggie filled with approximately 130 grams of pseudooephedrine that had been ground into powder. A grinder was also found in the car. After being read her rights, Kohler told investigators that she had been going to meet a man in Rocky Top she described as the “last big meth cook around.” Based upon the evidence and Kohler’s statements, deputies charged her with initiating the manufacture of meth; the manufacture, delivery or sale of meth; two counts of simple possession and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia. Her car and $92 in cash were seized. As of this morning, she remained in custody at the Anderson County Jail on bonds totaling $25,000.
Free tax assistance for AC residents
The Rocky Top Public Library will once again be a VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) Tax Site!! This is a FREE service offered to the community by appointment only!! Please make an appointment by calling the library at 865-426-6762 or asking at the front desk!! Again, the service will be offered by appointment only so call the library today and schedule your time to come in and get your taxes done. Appointments are being set this week and tax preparation begins next week.
The Oak Ridge Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Group (VITA) is providing free income tax preparation assistance at the former Trinity United Methodist Church building, 320 Robertsville Road, Oak Ridge. Income taxes will be prepared and electronic transmittals will be available - all at no cost to the taxpayer. Taxpayers should bring in their last year's return, all social security cards, W-2's or 1099's, photo identification and current health insurance information. Also, taxpayers who own their homes should bring all property taxes paid on the home in 2014. All returns will be filed electronically with the IRS - and bank account numbers and routing numbers will be needed for direct deposit of refunds. VITA will not have IRS forms and Publications available. The service will be available February 2nd through April 15th. The service is open to walk-ins only and no appointments will be scheduled. Hours for tax prep will be from 3 to 7:30 p.m. weekdays and from 10:00 am to 12:30 pm on Saturdays. For further information contact John Murray at 865-483-6870
Tax season = scam season
It is tax season and that means it also scam season and the IRS and the
Anderson County Sheriff’s Department want to warn citizens about a scam
making its way into the area. In the scam that is targeting East
Tennessee right now, a scammer calls your house and threatens you with
arrest for not paying your taxes. Chief Deputy Mark Lucas said in a
release issued Wednesday that “The Anderson County Sheriff's Department
has not received any crime reports on this scam but has been told
citizens have been receiving such calls.” The ACSD and the IRS want to
make sure you know that the IRS does not make calls like this and
that the IRS does not call you about taxes you might owe without
first mailing out a notice. The IRS will never demand that you
pay taxes without allowing you, the taxpayer, to appeal the amount you
owe. Additionally, the
IRS does not ask you to use a specific payment method
like a prepaid debit or credit card, nor does the
IRS ask for credit or debit card numbers over the telephone. Lastly, the
IRS wants you
to know they will not threaten you with arrest by a local law
enforcement agency for refusing to pay. If you receive one of these
calls, do not give the caller any personal information and please notify
your local law enforcement agency immediately. For more information on
this scam please visit: www.irs.gov.
Report: Roane sex offender charged with rape
According to the News-Sentinel, a Harriman man listed as a violent sex offender has been charged with repeatedly forcing two Roane County High School special needs students to perform oral sex on him. 28-year-old Matthew Brandon hall was placed on the sex offender registry after pleading guilty in 2008 to charges that he molested at least two children. The incidents for which Hall now faces charges allegedly occurred the weekend of January 17th and 18th at a house in Harriman and involved a 17-year-old boy and an 18-year-old boy. The KNS reports that both victims told Roane County Sheriff’s investigators that Hall had been repeatedly forcing them “by physical threats and force” to perform oral sex on him for the past year. Halls is charged with two counts of rape and with one count of aggravated assault stemming from an alleged incident involving the same teens in December during which Hall is accused of holding a knife to one of their throats during a dispute about a video game. Hall is being held at the Roane County Jail.
ORT: Dragon Boat races to return to OR this spring
(Oak Ridge Today) The second annual Oak Ridge Dragon Boat Festival will be held Saturday, May 30, at the Oak Ridge Marina and Pavilion in Melton Lake Park. The annual festival was launched a year ago by the three Rotary clubs of Oak Ridge.
This year, the festival will be preceded by an evening social event and beer garden on Friday, May 29, at the park. For the dragon boat paddlers and other visitors from out of town, the host hotel is Comfort Inn of Oak Ridge.
The festival’s organizing committee is headed by Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson, immediate past president of the Rotary Club of Oak Ridge. Chairs and members of the steering committee and subcommittees are members of this club, the Breakfast Club, and the Sunset Club.
An estimated 5,000 people attended the all-day event last year. Thirty teams competed in dragon boat races. A team from Charlotte, North Carolina, captured the most wins, and two teams from Oak Ridge National Laboratory finished in the top five.
Event sponsorship levels are $1,000, $2,500, and $5,000. The entry fee for one dragon boat team is $850.
A dragon boat is a long, low boat adorned with a snarling dragonhead at the boat’s front end, as in the Chinese tradition. Dragon boat races have become popular events in many U.S. cities, ranging in size from Philadelphia to San Francisco to Chattanooga.
The Dragon Boat Festival races will be an entertaining competition among teams of 20 persons each—18 paddlers, a caller, and a steerer (provided by Dynamic). The teams will come from community employers and organizations, many of which are signing up to become corporate sponsors of the event.
The goals of the committee are to double the number of teams in the races and bring in twice as much money for the Oak Ridge Rotary Community Fund, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. The purpose of the fund is to meet needs in the community in educational, children’s, and health programs.
“All proceeds from the event will stay in Oak Ridge and Anderson County,” said Kelly Callison, president of the Oak Ridge Breakfast Rotary Club. “The funds will support literacy projects, science fairs, musical organizations, and local nonprofit service organizations such as the Free Medical Clinic, Boys and Girls Club, Girls Inc., and Children’s Museum.”
For more information, email Leslie England at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at (865) 318-1910. To register, visit the Oak Ridge Dragon Boat Festival website at http://oakridge.racedragonboats.com/. You can also access the Oak Ridge Dragon Boat Festival page on Facebook to see announcements and photographs.
State: Problems found in Rockwood Revitalization
(State Comptroller’s Office) An investigation by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office has uncovered several issues related to Rockwood Revitalization, Inc., in Roane County, Tennessee. Rockwood Revitalization was organized to stimulate downtown economic development for the City of Rockwood. The organization is primarily funded from grants and donations. The investigation centered around a 2012 State of Tennessee, Department of Economic and Community Development, revitalization grant. The $15,000 grant was intended to help develop a new visitors’ center by including a public restroom. Investigators found that Rockwood Revitalization did not comply with the grant contract. Although building materials were purchased, no work ever began on the visitors’ center during the grant period. Furthermore, in February 2014 Rockwood Revitalization submitted false information to TNECD by indicating the visitor center and restroom facilities were completed on the grant close-out report. Rockwood Revitalization eventually used the purchased materials to develop and open a welcome center in October 2014. Comptroller investigators also noted questionable business practices within Rockwood Revitalization, and found the organization did not follow its bylaws. All of the findings and recommendations have been reviewed with the district attorney general for the 9th Judicial District. “Grant money can play an important role in spurring economic development throughout the state,” Comptroller Justin P. Wilson said. “Taxpayers deserve to know their money is being used appropriately and all the rules are being followed.” To view the investigation online, go to: http://www.comptroller.tn.gov/ia/. If you suspect fraud, waste or abuse of public money in Tennessee, call the Comptroller’s toll-free hotline at (800) 232-5454, or file a report online at: www.comptroller.tn.gov/hotline. Follow us on twitter @TNCOT
Man sentenced to 25 years for abuse
An Anderson County judge on Monday sentenced a Knoxville man convicted last year on charges of aggravated child abuse to three, 25-year sentences to be served concurrently. 48-year-old David William Lowery was convicted of breaking over 30 bones in his 10-week-old son’s body in 2008. Doctors first noticed a hand-shaped bruise on the baby’s back during a wellness check in January of 2008 and soon determined that the baby had suffered numerous broken bones, injuries doctors at Children’s Hospital said could not have been accidental. Anderson County Circuit Court Judge Don Elledge imposed the maximum sentence on Lowery, who will be required to serve at least 85 percent of his sentence before becoming eligible for parole.
AC McNabb Center celebrates grand opening
Tuesday, officials celebrated the official grand opening of the Anderson County Helen Ross McNabb Center in Oak Ridge. The mental health center originally opened in 1948 in Knoxville and since that time, has grown in to a center that serves over 25,000 people from all over East Tennessee. The new facility in Oak Ridge has actually been open and serving clients since early December and is located at 158 Fairbanks Road. The staff there provides a wide range of services including psychiatric evaluations, medical management, nursing services and other. Officials say the “new” facility will mean that Anderson County residents, who have had to travel in the past to Knox or Campbell counties for service, will now have a much shorter drive. The center is open weekdays from 8 am to 5 pm and is accepting new a\patients. Visit www.mcnabbcenter.org or call 865-637-9711 or 865-483-7743 for more information.
Charges against Bartley headed to grand jury
A Campbell County grand jury will consider possible assault charges against convicted school shooter Kenneth Bartley Jr. Bartley is facing a charge of with domestic abuse involving his mother following an incident in Caryville in October, some eight months after he was released from prison for the 2005 death of Campbell County High School Assistant Principal Ken Bruce and the wounding of two other school administrators. Bartley's mother, Rita Broyles, told police he tried to choke her at her Caryville home in October. She managed to break free and call police but by the time they arrived on scene, Bartley had taken off. He was arrested several hours later and later in the month, was denied bail after a judge said he could be a danger to the community and was considered a flight risk. On Tuesday, he was in court for a preliminary hearing on a domestic abuse charge and is expected back in court next month on a probation violation stemming from the October incident.
Report: Man pleads guilty in Roane road rage
According to the News-Sentinel, a man accused of road rage has pleaded guilty to felony reckless endangerment in Roane County. Jefferson Douglas Wyrosdick of Dandridge was accused in an incident on June 8, 2014, where the father of NASCAR driver Trevor Bayne was the victim. Rocky William Bayne and Wyrosdick were traveling in separate vehicles on Interstate 40 in Roane County when Bayne told a state trooper that Wyrosdick was in front of him and fired a handgun three times in the air, and the shell casings hit his windshield. Bayne told investigators that Wyrosdick had been tailgating him before passing him as they drove east on I-40. Wyrosdick admitted to the trooper that he fired the shots to scare Bayne and reportedly said "that if he had stopped and confronted the victim, he would have shot him.” Wyrosdick pleaded guilty Monday to felony reckless endangerment in Roane County Criminal Court and was placed on probation for two years and ordered to attend anger management classes and traffic school. Wyrosdick also forfeited the 9 mm handgun used in the incident and surrendered his handgun carry permit as he is now a felon prohibited form carrying a gun.
CNS aiding homeless veterans
(Submitted) Consolidated Nuclear Security’s donation of $25,000 to the Helen Ross McNabb Center’s Veterans Housing Project served as one of the final building blocks in the $1.83-million effort to provide permanent housing to homeless veterans who have mental illnesses. On Dec. 15, the ribbon was cut on the first apartment building, and the first four homeless veterans moved into their new homes in time to celebrate Christmas.
The CNS donation helped fund the newly constructed Cedar Crossing apartment building on Coster Road in Knoxville, which provides eight one-bedroom units. The second phase of the project is rehabilitating a former apartment complex off Washington Pike that will provide another 15 apartment homes. The three-building Washington Oaks renovation is expected to be completed by March 2015.
“The CNS donation helped the Helen Ross McNabb Center meet its goal to complete 23 units of housing for homeless veterans living with mental illness. We would not be able to complete the project without your support,” said Helen Ross McNabb Center Director of Community Relations Emily Scheuneman. She added that three additional veterans are preparing to move into Cedar Crossing. Counting the unit manager, the building will be filled.
CNS Chief Operating Officer Morgan Smith attended the ribbon cutting to celebrate the opening of the apartments.
“A significant number of veterans continue their service to our country through their work at the Y-12 National Security Complex. CNS has made this donation in honor of them, and all veterans, in recognition of their willing sacrifice to our country. It is our sincere hope that Cedar Crossing will provide a vibrant home for veterans who are having a difficult time readjusting to civilian life,” Smith said.
Jerry Vagnier, president and CEO of the Helen Ross McNabb Center, said the housing project will provide veterans with more than merely a temporary roof over their heads. Veterans Administration case managers and their counterparts from the Helen Ross McNabb Center will provide ongoing services to the permanent residents.
“This new facility will provide veterans facing mental illness and homelessness with stability and a place to call home,” Vagnier said “In this type of environment, they can get the help and support they need to lead healthy and successful lives.
“For the McNabb Center to be able to provide housing for people that are homeless and are veterans, there really is no higher calling. It's just amazing, and the community support we've had on this project just blows me away frankly," he said.
In addition to the CNS donation, funding for the project was provided by the United Way of Greater Knoxville, the City of Knoxville, Knox County Government, Tennessee Housing Development Agency, Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati, the Mike Hammond Concert Series, and private donors.
OS teen killed in Monday accident
An Oliver Springs boy died Monday morning when his dirt bike was struck by a car in Morgan County. The Tennessee Highway Patrol said that the accident happened at around 6:45 am Monday on State Highway 62 near Coalfield and left 17-year-old Aaron Gunter dead. Gunter had been headed west on a 2005 Suzuki dirt bike when 75-year-old Sharon Morton of Andersonville, also headed west, was blinded by the lights of a car headed east and could not see Gunter, who was reportedly riding without a headlight or taillights. Gunter was not wearing a helmet and the THP report indicates it might have made a difference had he had it on. Ms. Morton was buckled up and escaped without injury. No citations were issued and no charges are expected.
CTAS: Mayor must sign deed
Following up on a story we have been following for you, last week the Anderson County Commission voted to approve a motion that would complete the sale of land erroneously labeled as a delinquent tax property. The land in question is the Daya property in Clinton and the sale of the land back to Rocky Daya was approved by the committee for $46,000. County Mayor Terry Frank has refused to sign the deed, claiming that she does not trust the legal advice of Law Director Jay Yeager and that she feels he is trying to get her to sign the document illegally. The motion approved Tuesday would allow the deed to be signed by the mayor—as is the case currently—or the County Commission Chairman. Daya has pledged no further legal action against the county over the sale as part of the deal aimed at closing at least one of the legal cases currently ongoing against the county. Commissioner Steve Mead asked for a legal opinion over the mayor’s refusal to sign the deed despite the recommendation of the committee and this week, the University of Tennessee’s County Technical Assistance Service—or CTAS—gave its opinion. The opinion, penned by CTAS consultant Wesley Robertson, indicates that the Commission Chairman cannot sign the deed and that the Mayor is required to sign the document. The applicable state code reads: “Conveyances of the land shall be made without warranties of any sort, and deeds shall be executed by the county mayor or other chief fiscal officer of the county and the county trustee, who shall collect the purchase price at the time of the execution of the deed.” Commissioner Mead, in an e-mail sharing the opinion with his fellow commissioners wrote, “It also says that the Mayor SHALL sign the deed once the agreed price is presented. Shall means she has no authority to not sign.” We will continue to follow this story for you on WYSH.
Report: Family of victim, survivors file suit in Roane train crash
Two survivors and the family of a young Roane County woman killed when a Norfolk Southern train collided with a car in May 2014 in Roane County are suing the railroad and three employees. The plaintiffs allege among other things that the train crew failed to properly sound a horn, make the car aware of its presence, that there was poor visibility at the crossing and that the railroad uses a flawed "Operation Lifesaver" training program that gives inadequate training and instruction. The defendants are Norfolk Southern Railway Co., Norfolk Southern Corp., division superintendent Jeff Sliger, track maintenance superintendent Edgar Keller and Rusty Layne, signal and crossing manager. Filing the suit in Roane County Circuit Court were crash survivors Hunter Crass and Darius J. Gallaher and Willie J. Gallaher and Melissa D. Gallaher, the parents of Jadah A. Gallaher, who died in the crash. Also killed as a result of the collision was Roderick Drummond. Crass was riding in the front passenger seat. Darius Gallaher was driving the 2000 Nissan Maxima. His sister Jadah Gallaher and Drummond were passengers in the car. Several in the car played basketball at Roane State Community College. After the collision at the Mountain View road crossing near U.S. Highway 27, Jadah Gallaher was found outside the car, leaning against the driver's side rear wheel. She died later at a hospital. Crass and Darius Gallaher were pinned inside the car and suffered multiple injuries. A preliminary report last year from the Tennessee Highway Patrol stated Gallaher's vehicle was heading westbound when it attempted to cross the railroad crossing and was hit by the train. According to the lawsuit, rescue and emergency medical personnel asked the train crew to move the train so that Crass could be removed for emergency care but that the crew declined until a railroad supervisor arrived. Plaintiffs seek a trial and a "fair and reasonable sum for compensatory and punitive damages."
AC historian aids Morgan counterparts
(Submitted) Longtime Anderson County Archivist and Historian Mary Sue Harris last week hosted three volunteer archivists from Morgan County who wanted to learn what it takes to catalog and maintain a county’s historical documents. Sharon Kreis, Forrest Stewart and Barbara Langley, all from Morgan County, on Friday morning visited the Anderson County Courthouse to meet with Harris; they’ve been voluntarily working for the last three years to restore and maintain Morgan County’s historical documents, Kreis said.
“We’ve visited several other counties’ historical archives, and we were told that Anderson County’s (archives) are what it all should be modeled after,” Kreis said.
Organization and maintenance of historical documents isn’t an overnight task.
“Just be patient,” Harris told the volunteer archivists.
Harris herself has worked for more than 50 years to restore and maintain Anderson County records, the oldest of which date back to 1802.
“Mrs. Harris continues to be an asset not only for Anderson County, but for all who love and value history,” Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank said. “Just days ago, Anderson County hosted the Anderson County Youth Leadership class and after Mrs. Harris spoke, students and county officials all erupted in unexpected applause. It was a wonderful and well-deserved moment.
“We want to congratulate Morgan County for their Archivist Award, and we wish them much success on their program,” Mayor Frank said.
Through the efforts of Kreis, Stewart and Langley, the Morgan County Archives received the 2014 John H. Thweatt Archival Advancement Award from the Society of Tennessee Archivists (STA). Thweatt was a professional archivist with the Tennessee State Library and Archives for many years. The award that holds his name is presented to “individuals, groups and organizations that have made significant contributions to the advancement of archives and archival issues in Tennessee,” according to the STA.
The Morgan County Archives and Family Heritage Center is housed at the historic Morgan County Jail in Wartburg. Archival records kept there date back to the late 1800s.
Caryville wrecks kill 2, injure 2
A man and his 6-year-old son were killed and a Jacksboro police officer was seriously injured in two separate but related accidents in Caryville Friday afternoon. The Tennessee Highway Patrol says 44-year-old Bobby L. Coker Jr. was driving his GMC Envoy with 8-year-old daughter Marissa Coker and 6-year-old son Skyland Coker on Highway 116 just before 4:00 p.m. Troopers say Coker was making a left around a turn when his vehicle left the roadway, traveled through a ditch, and crashed into a tree. Coker Jr., was not wearing his seatbelt, and was ejected from his car. He and Skyland Coker were killed, and Marissa Coker was injured. Troopers also say Jacksboro Police Detective Mike Starrett was responding to the crash on Highway 116 at Little Cove Creek Road when his unmarked cruiser was struck by 1993 GMC pickup truck driven by David Muse. Other vehicles had pulled to the shoulder due to the emergency traffic, but Muse was unable to stop and hit Starrett’s car head on. Starrett was taken to UT Medical Center by ambulance. Muse was taken to Lafollette Medical Center and has been charged with failure to maintain control and failure to exercise due care. The roadway was reopened around 8 pm, about four hours after the initial crash.
The family and doctors of Jacksboro Detective Mike Starrett are asking for blood donations to replace what has been used since he’s been in the hospital and replenish other blood supplies at the UT Medical Center. Blood type does not matter, but they are asking that you use the name Det. Mike Starrett when donating. There are various locations you can make a donation:
Kingston man jailed in Y-12FCU heist
Knoxville Police and the FBI have arrested a man in connection to a Friday robbery of a Knoxville credit union. 43-year-old Bryan Samples of Kingston was taken into custody by Knoxville Police officers and agents of the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force. At last check, Samples was being held at the Blount County Jail. Friday’s robbery happened around 4:49 p.m. when a man entered the Y-12 Federal Credit Union, 6640 Clinton Highway, passed the teller a note demanding money and left with cash, according to the FBI.
ORT: OR man charged with firing gun during parking dispute
(Oak Ridge Today) An Oak Ridge man who allegedly fired a gun into the ground during a parking disturbance on Tucker Road on January 18 has been charged with two counts of aggravated assault. Justin Kane Hornung, 37, told Oak Ridge Police Department Officer Christopher W. Wallace that he did not have space to park his vehicle on Tucker Road when he came home because guests of a neighbor had filled the on-street parking spaces, according to warrants filed in Anderson County General Sessions Court.
A discussion between Hornung and his neighbor about the parking situation reportedly escalated into a disturbance, and the victim allegedly told Hornung he was going to “kick his (expletive)” and yelled other obscenities, according to the warrants. Hornung told Wallace that he felt threatened by the victim’s statements, so he pulled a handgun, pointed it at the victim, and fired one shot into the ground, the warrants said.
“The victim stated he was in fear for his life when the defendant fired the shot,” Wallace wrote. “Additionally, the defendant’s daughter (a nine-year-old juvenile) was also in the roadway at the time of the incident,” the warrants said. Wallace said District Attorney General David Clark recommended arresting Hornung for aggravated assault. “The defendant intentionally and knowingly placed the victim in fear of imminent bodily injury by displaying and discharging a firearm,” Wallace wrote in the warrants. Hornung remained in the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton on Friday. His bond has been set at $100,000, according to court records.
ORT: Man accused of attempted kidnapping
(Oak Ridge Today) An Oak Ridge man allegedly broke into a home this month, assaulted the mother of his children, threw a five-inch kitchen knife at a man at the home, and tried to kidnap two kids, authorities said. Justin L. Williams, 23, is accused of going upstairs at the Knoll Lane home armed with a five-inch kitchen knife and confronting the woman in the hall, shoving her against a door and to the floor, and assaulting her again outside while taking her car keys to get child seats, according to arrest warrants filed in Anderson County General Sessions Court. The woman, who had a laceration to her right big toe, reportedly called 911 on her cell phone during the assault at about 4:18 a.m. January 14, the warrants said. “The defendant took the cell phone away from (the woman) and ended the call before she could report the crime in progress,” Oak Ridge Police Department Officer Benjamin Haines wrote in a warrant. Haines responded to the home to investigate the 911 hang-up call. Williams also is accused of brandishing the knife at the second victim, who fled the house in fear, the warrants said. Williams allegedly threw the knife at the man from 20 feet away in the parking lot. After assaulting the woman and forcing the man out of the home, Williams allegedly removed a three-year-old girl and a two-year-old girl from their beds, took them to the parking lot, and placed the children in his vehicle.
“When further confrontations occurred over the children’s car seats, the defendant abandoned his kidnapping and fled the area,” the warrants said. Williams has been charged with two counts of especially aggravated kidnapping, aggravated burglary, aggravated assault, aggravated domestic assault, interfering with a 911 call and theft. He remained jailed in the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton on Friday afternoon. The court documents said Williams and the woman have two children in common and had lived together for several years until four days before the alleged crimes, but Williams had moved out as part of a break-up. He allegedly entered the Knoll Lane home by breaking a kitchen window and crawling into the house. Williams allegedly took the woman’s pepper spray, valued at $25, when he fled the scene. Haines said Williams and the woman are not married, and the woman retains full custodial rights to the children.
Follow-up: A&S not the only Campbell company closing
As we reported Thursday, NCI Building Systems—commonly referred to as A&S Building Systems—will close its Caryville manufacturing facility on March 22nd, costing 164 people their jobs. A&S will keep two other East Tennessee facilities open but are consolidating operations. The company notified its employees and the state of the closure this week and say it will offer severance packages to all workers who can stay on through March 22nd. Officials in Campbell County say that two other businesses will also be closing their doors within the next month or so. TrailManor Manufacturing in Lafollette is phasing out operations at the end of the month and has already begun phasing out workers. The Carmike Cinema in LaFollette is also closing and its final day will be February 19th. County leaders will soon meet to discuss what can be done to help people who lost their jobs. Plans are already in the works to bring more companies into Campbell County.
Suspects lead police on three-county chase
Late Thursday night, a par of Knox County robbery suspects led police in three counties on a high-speed chase that ended when spike strips were deployed in Maynardville. The Anderson County Sheriff’s Department provided assistance to Knox County Sheriff’s deputies and Knoxville Police officers as the chase began in north Knox County, crossed through Anderson County and terminated in Union County. The pursuit began at around 9:45 pm in Knox County and ended about an hour later when a Union County deputy laid down spike strips on the road and the suspect’s car swerved to avoid them and crashed into a ditch near the Hickory Star Marina. A man and a woman were taken into custody a short time later after a brief foot chase by Knoxville Police. No injuries were reported. 32-year-old Jeremy Shane Howard of Knoxville faces several charges in connection to the incident and the woman caught with him was released from custody without charges being filed. In addition to the Knox County agencies and the ACSD, officers from the Union County Sheriff’s Office and the Tennessee Highway Patrol participated in the pursuit.
ORT: 7 first responders recognized
(Oak Ridge Today) Four emergency medical workers in Anderson County were honored Tuesday for helping with baby deliveries, and three rescuers were recognized for their courage in pulling a woman from a burning home in November.
Those who helped deliver the babies received a Stork pin, said Nathan Sweet, director of Anderson County Emergency Medical Services. The four were honored during a Tuesday meeting of the Anderson County Commission. They are Critical Care Paramedic or CCEMTP Billy Sharp, Paramedic Student Chris Bice, AEMT Stephanie Fox, and Paramedic Gage Whitman.
They helped with baby deliveries in October, November, and December.
“Each delivery occurred prior to arrival at the hospital,” Sweet said.
The three rescuers honored for pulling a woman from a burning home in the Orchard Knob subdivision in November were Anderson County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Wiley Maloney, Reserve Deputy Gene Rose, and Captain Zach Pressnell of the Marlow Volunteer Fire Department. They were honored with Valor presentations, Sweet said. He said the three men exposed themselves to great harm.
The 65-year-old woman, Martha Babb Bailey, was burned and seriously injured after she went into the burning home to try to save pets inside. She later died at the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville.
Centrus announces extension with UT-Battelle
(Submitted) Centrus Energy Corp. announced today that UT-Battelle, LLC, as operator of the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has exercised its option to extend the American Centrifuge Technology Demonstration and Operations Agreement (ACTDO Agreement) by six months from March 31 to September 30, 2015. ORNL had previously exercised an option to extend the agreement through March 31, 2015.
Centrus, which has invested more than $2.5 billion to develop the only U.S.-origin uranium enrichment technology available for national and energy security purposes, acts as a subcontractor to ORNL through its wholly owned subsidiary American Centrifuge Operating, LLC. The national laboratory has been tasked by the Department of Energy (DOE) to assist in developing a path forward for achieving a reliable and economic domestic uranium enrichment capability that supports national security.
The ACTDO Agreement requires the company to furnish technical reports and data to ORNL from the cascade operations at Centrus' Piketon, Ohio, facility and from the core American Centrifuge research and technology activities at Centrus' Oak Ridge, Tenn. facilities.
"Our American Centrifuge team continues to make solid progress executing the ACTDO agreement," said Steven R. Penrod, vice president, American Centrifuge. "We are operating a cascade of machines and demonstrating this remarkable uranium enrichment technology that is capable of supporting our country's national security objectives. We appreciate ORNL's confidence in our team's work through their support of this six-month extension."
Under the extended subcontract, Centrus will continue these operations in Ohio and Tennessee. The FY2015 omnibus appropriations bill signed by President Obama on December 16, 2014, provides $97.2 million in funding for domestic uranium enrichment research, development and demonstration. This appropriation provides funding for the continuation of the ACTDO Agreement for the remainder of the federal government's fiscal year through September 30, 2015. A bipartisan consensus in Congress and the administration recognized the importance of maintaining the American Centrifuge technology for national and energy security purposes.
The ACTDO Agreement is a firm fixed-price contract. The agreement provided two options to extend the contract for six months, each at a price of $41.7 million for each option period. The total price of the contract including options is approximately $117 million.
Pursuant to the FY2015 omnibus appropriations bill, DOE is currently examining long-range options for meeting the government's need for enriched uranium to support national security. DOE is expected to report its findings to Congress later this year. Centrus remains committed to working closely with DOE and Congress to maintain and deploy this technology to serve national security and energy security needs.
A&S to close doors, lay off 164
WYSH has confirmed with the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development that A&S Building Systems—sometimes called A&S Steel—will be permanently shutting down its manufacturing operation on Highway 116 in Caryville, effective March 22nd. The closure will cost 164 employees their jobs. A&S’s manufacturing facility and corporate offices have been in their location since 1973 and the company was purchased in 1992 by a company called NCI, one of the largest suppliers of metal building products. Some workers received their notices of separation on Wednesday night and the state says more information could be released later today (Thursday 1/22). No reason for the closure was given to the state and WYSH has reached out to officials at A&S for comment. As of the time this report was filed, we were awaiting a response.
Elderly OR attorney appears in court
Following up on a story we brought you Wednesday, 94-year-old alternate Oak Ridge Judge William Tunnell made his first appearance in court on an aggravated assault charge stemming from an incident that occurred in November. Tunnell remains free on a $50,000 signature bond in connection to the November 21st incident. Tunnell is accused of hitting a man with his car after the victim and some other passersby helped him up after he fell walking to his car at the intersection of Waltham Lane and West outer Drive in Oak Ridge. Charles Smallwood told investigators that he and the other good Samaritans had noticed a large cut on the back of Tunnell’s head and tried to get him to stick around until first responders arrived. Smallwood said that he stood in front of Tunnell’s car to prevent him from leaving, but Tunnell allegedly cursed at him and threatened to run him over before putting the car into “drive” and striking Smallwood, who was treated at UT Medical Center and released that same evening. Tunnell has denied the allegations. During Wednesday’s appearance in Oak Ridge General Sessions Court, Judge Roger Miller recused himself on the grounds that he knows Tunnell, whose office is next door to the court building. Judge Don Layton will also likely have to recuse himself and it will be up to him to find an area judge who does not have any potential conflicts of interest.
THP: Woman killed on I-75
A 66-year-old LaFollette woman was killed in a Wednesday-morning traffic accident on I-75 North in Campbell County. The Tennessee Highway Patrol says that Janice Osborne had been haded north in a 2008 Toyota RAV4 at around 10:20 am and was traveling in the inside lane near mile marker 160 south of Jellico, when her car crossed into the path of a 2004 GMC pickup truck driven by an Ohio man. After the collision with the pickup, Osborne’s car crashed through the guardrail and came to rest just off the interstate. Osborne died in the wreck despite wearing her seatbelt. The occupants of the other vehicle—Steven and Tara Kniceley of Hamilton, Ohio—were injured in the accident but the report does not indicate the nature or severity of their injuries.
OR dealing with school building problems
Oak Ridge city and school officials are working to deal with problems at the school system’s preschool and administration building. The 70-year-old building is starting to exhibit structural problems and lead paint has begun to flake off the sides of exterior walls. Officials say that the immediate problem of the lead paint must be addressed quickly or the system will have to vacate that building before the next school year begins. City officials held two work sessions recently with the school board to work on a solution to the problem and say they have a couple of options to choose from. Those options are basically to fix the lead paint problem and then work toward a longer-term solution for the other deficiencies in the building, or to begin working toward building, buying or leasing a new facility. City leaders say that Oak Ridge would either have to make room in its budget for a new structure, or look for grants to help buy a new facility. The school board meets Monday, January 26 and reportedly aims to make a decision on their next move.
Brushy Mountain plans moving forward
Brushy Mountain State Prison in Morgan County could be reopened with a new purpose as soon as next year. A distillery, museum, RV trailer park and restaurant are all in the making to replace the old prison that closed down six years ago in 2009. The state officially handed old Brushy Mountain State Prison to Morgan County Economic Development officials. The tourist attraction is expected to open in spring 2016. Rutherford says it will bring more than 100 jobs to the area. .
Roane railroad crossings receive safety money
Roane County has received a grant to help make safety improvements at a railroad crossing where two young people died last year. The accident happened in May 2014 at the crossing of U.S. Highway 27 and Mountain View Road in Harriman. Two teens were killed when a train hit their car and another person was seriously injured. The Roane County Highway Department learned Tuesday they have been awarded a 100 percent, federally-funded grant to help prevent similar accidents in the future. Changes include new signage which will be farther back on 27, as well as on both sides of the highway, repaving Mountain View Road and pushing the painted railroad crossing signs closer to a nearby neighborhood by 500 feet. Railroad companies, local highway departments, and TDOT will conduct an engineering study to look at the number of cars and trains that pass, the chances of a collision, visibility and train and car speed to determine which element would be best for the crossing. Plans also call for the installation of flashing lights at the crossing.
Clinton man indicted in 2014 stabbing death
A Clinton man has been indicted by an Anderson County grand jury on a charge of first-degree murder in the April 2014 stabbing death of his girlfriend. Clinton Police reported that the time that 22-year-old Heather McKamey died early on the morning of April 19th, 2014 after she was allegedly stabbed by 26-year-old Kieth Pittman during an argument in their driveway on Park Avenue. After she was stabbed, McKamey managed to run to nearby McAdoo Street, where she knocked on doors asking for help. When officers responded to the area to investigate, they found McKamey’s body in the front yard of a home. Pittman reportedly told investigators that he had grabbed a knife from the kitchen before following McKamey out of the house, but did not know why he did it. Police and an Anderson County judge classified the case as second-degree murder, but the grand jury opted for the more serious, first-degree murder charge. Pittman remains in custody at the Anderson County Jail on bonds totaling $1.010 million and will be arraigned on January 30th.
ORT: Tunnell charged with aggravated assault
According to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, 94-year-old William Lawrence Tunnell, an alternate Oak Ridge city judge who is believed to be the oldest practicing attorney in Tennessee, was arrested January 13 for allegedly hitting a man with his car and knocking him to the ground in November. Tunnell has been charged with one count of aggravated assault and was scheduled to appear in court Wednesday morning. The incident occurred on the evening of November 21st at the intersection of West Outer Drive and Waltham Lane. Witnesses and victim Charles Smallwood said Tunnell had fallen while walking back to his vehicle and said they helped Tunnell to his feet and then back to his vehicle. The witnesses and victim said they noticed a large cut on the back of Tunnell’s head and tried to get him to stay at the scene until medical personnel could respond. Smallwood told officers that he stepped in front of Tunnell’s vehicle to prevent him from leaving.
At that point, Tunnell allegedly cursed at Smallwood and threatened to hit him with his car, before “[placing] his vehicle in the drive position and [striking] the victim, knocking him to the ground.” Smallwood was taken by ambulance to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville. Contacted Tuesday by Oak Ridge Today on Tuesday, Tunnell denied any wrongdoing. Tunnell is also the oldest judge in Tennessee and is on the list to be an alternate city judge but hasn’t served in at least a year, according to the Oak Ridge City Court Clerk. For more, visit www.oakridgetoday.com.
Follow-Up: More on January Commission meeting
The Anderson County Commission held its quarterly day meeting this morning. One of the early highlights of the meeting was the formal introduction to commissioners of Mary Ann Young, a Clinton native who was recently hired as the director of the county’s Alternatives to Incarceration program. Also introduced to commissioners—and whose hiring was unanimously approved by the Commission—was new Human Resources Director Russell Bearden. Bearden replaces Kathy Best, who left her post for a job in the private sector. Prior to coming to Anderson County, Bearden has spent over 20 years in human resources, primarily in industries, most recently at Kimble Chase Life Science/Gerresheimer in Rockwood, a company that makes glass labware components.
Commissioners unanimously approved up to $4200 to match a grant received by the Marlow Volunteer Fire Department for 16 air packs for firefighters.
The Commission also voted to approve a motion that would complete the sale of land erroneously labeled as a delinquent tax property. The land in question is the Daya property in Clinton and the sale of the land back to Rocky Daya was approved by the committee for $46,000. County Mayor Terry Frank has refused to sign the deed, claiming that she does not trust the legal advice of Law Director Jay Yeager and that she feels he is trying to get her to sign the document illegally. The motion approved Tuesday would allow the deed to be signed by the mayor—as is the case currently—or the County Commission Chairman. Daya has pledged no further legal action against the county over the sale as part of the deal aimed at closing at least one of the legal cases currently ongoing against the county. Commissioner Steve Mead asked for a legal opinion over the mayor’s refusal to sign the deed despite the recommendation of the committee and Mayor Frank requested a legal opinion on changing the language of the resolution to ostensibly strip her of that power. Chairman Robert McKamey assured commissioners and members of the audience that he will await a legal opinion before signing the deed.
Commissioners unanimously voted to fund one-time bonuses for the county’s 336 employees to help make up for the fact that they have not received pay raises in several years due to tight budgets. Employees who were on the county’s payroll as of January 1st, 2014 will receive a bonus of approximately $675. The money will come from money in the county’s undesignated fund balance—or rainy day fund—over the $4 million minimum threshold established last year by the Commission for the general fund.
The Commission also unanimously approved passage of amended language to the Private Act that that created the Law Director’s office in 2006 to replace language suggesting that the Law Director also act as the county’s delinquent tax attorney upon selection by the Trustee and approval of the mayor to require the law director to act in that role. That private act also gives final approval of the Trustee’s choice for delinquent tax attorney to the County Commission, replacing the mayor. Mayor Frank says she will veto the private act and seek an opinion from the State Attorney General’s office as to whether the commission’s maneuver passes constitutional muster.
The Commission also approved a Private Act that will maintain the presence of satellite locations for the County Clerk and Trustees’ offices in the northeast section of Anderson County and in Oak Ridge.
The final major piece of business was an override of the mayor’s veto of a resolution that would require any bills for outside legal counsel to be vetted by the Commission Chairman and the Law Director. The override passed overwhelmingly.
Several area football players recognized
The News-Sentinel’s PrepXtra Football Team was announced this morning and several area players are represented. The First Team Offense features Campbell County QB Ethan Jeffers; Anderson County RB Matt Fox; Oak Ridge WR Tee Higgins and Coalfield OL Zach Stewart. The Second team Offense includes Clinton QB Tyler Thackerson; Campbell County WR Trey Torres; Oak Ridge TE Darel Middleton and Oak Ridge OL Isaac Chapman. The First Team Defense features Oak Ridge punter Brandon Nickle. The Second team Defense includes Anderson County DB Garrett Johnson and four Oak Ridge players—DL Shawmain Fleming, DBs Jemiah Hall and Ted Mitchell and Athlete Brandon Bonds.
ORAU awarded EPA contract
Oak Ridge Associated Universities recently won a five-year contract worth up to $89 million from the Environmental Protection Agency to manage the EPA Environmental Research and Business Support Program, which provides opportunities for exceptional undergraduate and recent bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral graduates to participate in the EPA-sanctioned research and administrative projects.
Through this work, ORAU will recruit and place employees at 13 EPA Office of Research and Development laboratories and research centers across the U.S. These participants in both business, and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields will receive hands-on training in real-world settings at these laboratories and research centers while contributing to EPA’s mission, a press release said.
“We are very excited about this opportunity to support EPA’s research and administrative goals,” said ORAU President and CEO Andy Page. “ORAU has a long history of successfully managing large-scale science and education programs, and we are already taking applications for this exciting new program.”
Interested students and recent graduates can learn more about these opportunities and apply for appointments for this program by visiting www.orau.org/epa.
4 ORHS students receive computer awards
(Oak Ridge Today) Four Oak Ridge High School students won state honors, and one student was a national winner—the first from East Tennessee—in computing awards given to young women in 2015.
The Award for Aspirations in Computing by the National Center for Women and Technology honors young women at the high-school level for their computing-related achievements and interests, a press release said. Awardees are selected for their computing and IT aptitude, leadership ability, academic history, and plans for post-secondary education.
The four ORHS students were among 11 state winners from Tennessee. The Oak Ridge students are Olivia Bookout, Patricia Edou, Serena French, and Indigo Jackson.
Edou was also one of 35 national winners for the 2015 Award for Aspirations in Computing, the first national winner from East Tennessee, and the second-ever national winner from the state of Tennessee.
All winners are students of Keith Jackson, math and computer science teacher and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) coach at Oak Ridge High School.
The press release said the winners were selected from a record 2,691 applicants from across the nation. The 2015 state winners will be honored at Tennessee Technical University on February 21.
The national winners will also be honored at the Bank of America Technology Stars of the Future Showcase and Awards Ceremony on March 7 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Each national winner will receive a $500 cash prize, laptop computer, and two engraved trophies, one for her and one for her school.
THP: One killed in big rig wreck
A Warren County man was killed in a single-vehicle accident Friday afternoon in Roane County. The Tennessee Highway Patrol says that 49-year-old Timothy Seaman of Rock Island, Tennessee had been driving a tractor-trailer hauling wooden posts north on Harriman Highway shortly before 12:30 pm Friday when the truck left the right side of the road and slammed into a utility pole. Trooper Anthony Lay reported that Seaman had been wearing his seatbelt at the time of the crash. The cause of Friday’s wreck remains under investigations but early indications are that Seaman may have suffered a medical episode in the moments before the crash. No other vehicles were involved and no one else was traveling in Seaman’s rig.
Man facing numerous charges after wreck, chase
A Clinton man was arrested on several charges Thursday night after a series of events that began with him allegedly leaving the scene of an accident and culminated with him allegedly assaulting emergency responders. Deputies responded to a report of a wreck on Clinton Highway at Bull Run Road in Claxton at around 8 pm Thursday and were informed while en route that one of the vehicles had left the scene. A short time later, a call was received about a car stopped in the middle of the roadway on Bull Run and when deputies responded, they found 34-year-old Larry Eugene Ward Jr. slumped over in the driver’s seat. The car had heavy front-end damage and when the deputy spoke to Ward, he reported that he could smell alcohol and that Ward told him he was parked in front of the Hitching Post on Clinton Highway. When Deputy Robert Collins called for a paramedic to check Ward out, Claxton Deputy Fire Chief Donnie Shipley responded as did Constable Jennings Foust. As Collins briefed the other two men, Ward started the car and tried to drive off. Foust reached in and tried to remove the key from the ignition and had it not been for Shipley and Collins pulling him away, would have been dragged by the car or under it, as it narrowly missed running his legs over. After a brief chase, Ward allegedly turned around in the front yard of a nearby home and collided with the deputy’s cruiser, then got back on the road and collided with an EMS vehicle and Foust’s car as they tried to block his escape. Ward’s car became disabled and he fled on foot into a field. Shipley and Collins tried to restrain Ward, who did not comply with commands to surrender until threatened with a taser. Foust suffered only minor injuries in the incident. Ward was charged with three counts each of aggravated assault, reckless endangerment and reckless driving; two counts each of evading arrest and resisting arrest; and one count of public intoxication. He is also facing a list of moving violations too long to mention here and, as of this morning, was being held at the Anderson County Jail without bond pending arraignment.
Accidental fire damages home
A fire damaged a home on West Wolf Valley Road early Thursday morning. Shortly before 1 am, a neighbor called 911 to report that the home at 3244 West Wolf valley was on fire. The Claxton, Medford and Andersonville Volunteer Fire Departments responded to the scene and extinguished the blaze. The homeowner was out of town and was reached by telephone, telling deputies he would return to Anderson County sometime today (Friday). The cause of the fire is unknown but appears to have been accidental. There is no estimate on damage done to the home included in the ACSD’s incident report.
State: Fire deaths in TN on the decline
Tennessee's fire mortality rate is continuing to decline. In 2014, 72 people died in an accidental fire, according to the State Fire Marshal's Office. In 2013, the number was 98. Fire officials say education is a key in the reduced number of deaths and encourage citizens to check and replace their smoke alarm batteries each time the time changes going into and out of daylight Savings Time. Fire authorities encourage all residents to plan an exit route should fire break out. They also urge residents to get out promptly and stay out. No one should go back into a burning structure, authorities warn. Tennessee historically has had a high fire mortality rate in the U.S., along with other Southern states, according to state officials. According to the National Fire Protection Association, the fire death rate per million people has been going down significantly over time since 1980. Mississippi had the highest average fire death rate in the most recent five years of data analyzed, 2006-10. Poverty, smoking, a rural location and household education appeared to be common factors among leading states.
CPD, ACSD brief media on POTUS prep
Of course, last week’s big news in Anderson County was the visit to our fair little town by President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. Many people lined the streets to watch the spectacle of the presidential motorcade roll through town and let the White House contingent know we appreciated their visit to our community. What many people were not aware of was the amount of work and preparation that went into securing the motorcade’s route on the part of local officials. Earlier this week, Clinton Police Chief Rick Scarbrough and Anderson County Chief Sheriff’s Deputy Mark Lucas gave the press a brief rundown of their respective departments’ involvement and that of other agencies in making sure the visit went smoothly. Describing the week as “exciting but stressful,” Scarbrough said he was notified of the potential for the visit during halftime of the Tennessee bowl game against Iowa, the Friday before the visit, and received confirmation of the visit Sunday afternoon. That began a week filled with meetings with the Secret Service and an amazing collaboration of resources. The effort included not only the CPD and ACSD, but also contributions from the city Fire and Public Works departments, the Tennessee Highway Patrol and TWRA. While Secret Service agents focused on security, local authorities blocked off some 51 intersections between the Oak Ridge city limits and the Eagle Bend Industrial Park and focused on traffic and crowd control. The ACSD had 48 officers take part in the operation while some 40 to 45 public safety personnel and another 10 to 15 Public Works employees took part in the local effort. Chief Lucas said that the pre-existing cooperative relationships between local agencies made the coordination of resources easier. The cost of the endeavor to the city and the county has not yet been tabulated, but Chief Scarbrough said that in addition to making sure the visit was safe for the travelers from Washington, the massive effort also allowed officials to determine where their coordinated efforts need some work in the event of a future mass-turnout event like last week’s visit. There were no incidents along the motorcade route except for a Sheriff’s patrol car that was rear-ended by an inattentive driver, causing only minor damage and no injuries. Both men said the Secret Service indicated they were pleased with the city and county’s performance during last week’s historic visit.
Lillard re-elected State Treasurer
(State Treasurer’s office) Members of the 109th General Assembly reelected, by acclamation, David H. Lillard to a fourth term as Tennessee State Treasurer. The State Treasurer is a Constitutional Officer elected by the General Assembly for a two-year term. In his official capacity, Treasurer Lillard oversees the Tennessee Treasury Department and its more than 250 employees. The Treasury Department internally manages over $45 billion in state and local government funds. Since he was first elected, Treasurer Lillard has championed issues of financial literacy and has strived to provide Tennesseans with financial tools to lead to a better quality of life, such as creating the Tennessee Financial Literacy Commission and the TN Stars™ 529 College Savings Program. In late 2014, the TNStars 529 College Savings program was recognized as one of the top direct-sold plans in the nation based on one year investment performance. The Tennessee Financial Literacy Commission has worked to educate approximately 2,000 Tennessee K-8 school teachers to incorporate the nationally recognized Financial Fitness for Life™ curriculum in their classrooms. Teachers receive training by attending one of the many regional summits held across state. Both the training and the curriculum are provided at no cost to the teacher.
Under Treasurer Lillard’s leadership, the Treasury Department proposed, and the 108th General Assembly enacted, reforms to the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement Systems (TCRS), the state pension plan. These reforms created a hybrid pension plan with cost controls effective for state, higher education and K-12 teachers hired on or after July 1, 2014. The restructured plan has been recognized as an aggressive, innovative reform that substantially reduces the costs to the state while providing a sufficient and sustainable benefit for State and higher education employees, K-12 public school teachers and employees of electing local government entities. TCRS is valued at more than $42 Billion and was recognized by Standard and Poor’s as the sixth best funded public employee defined benefit retirement system in the Nation.
“It has been an honor to serve our state in this position since 2009. With the support of the General Assembly, the Treasury Department has been able to accomplish a lot of great things for our state.” said Treasurer Lillard. “I am honored to serve a fourth term and grateful to the General Assembly for the opportunity to continue to serve Tennessee as a faithful steward of our state’s financial and human resources.”
Treasurer Lillard is active as an advocate for Tennessee’s position on national financial issues that impact our state and our nation through the National Association of State Treasurers (NAST). He was elected by state treasurers across the county to serve as the national President of NAST for 2015. He is the first Tennessee Republican to serve as president of NAST.
Wilson re-elected State Comptroller
(State Comptroller’s office) The members of the Tennessee Senate and House have re-elected Justin P. Wilson to serve as the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury. The vote by acclamation was taken during Wednesday’s joint convention of the 109th General Assembly.
Wilson is Tennessee’s 34th Comptroller of the Treasury and was re-elected to his fourth two-year term. He leads a staff of more than 500 employees.
The Comptroller’s duties include the audit of state and local government entities and participation in the general financial and administrative management and oversight of state government.
“I am very pleased to serve a fourth term as Tennessee’s Comptroller,” said Comptroller Wilson. “I appreciate the General Assembly’s support and confidence, and I pledge to continue our office’s mission of improving the quality of life for all Tennesseans by making government work better.”
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ORNL FCU donates $64,861 to UWAC
(UWAC) ORNL Federal Credit Union raised $64,861 for the United Way of Anderson County’s annual giving campaign, bringing the total for the last two years to more than $131,000. Donations to UWAC are an investment in the community, a United Way press release said. “Donations are used to support critical services in our community throughout the year,” the release said. “Local volunteers determine where to allocate money’s to make the greatest impact based on demonstrated need and efficacy.”
“ORNL FCU’s investment in Anderson and surrounding countries is critical, making up over 5 percent of our total revenue,” said Rick Morrow, UWAC director. “In 2013, UWAC dollars touched people’s lives more than 37,000 times. ORNL FCU’s investment means that someone is there to help 1,850 times through the course of the year.” The press release said UWAC funds go to support 32 agencies and 50 different programs that provide services Anderson County residents. For more information about UWAC services and to donate to provide this type of assistance to our neighbors, go to www.uwayac.org or call UWAC at (865) 483-8431. The press release said UWAC has made donating simpler this year, and you can use their PayPal link to establish an ongoing gift.
Follow-up: AC hires Alternatives to Incarceration Director
Following up on a story we brought you last week but may have gotten lost in the excitement surrounding the presidential visit, Anderson County is one step closer to having a full-time director for its Alternatives to Incarceration program. Last week, the committee in charge of finding someone to head the department unanimously recommended hiring Clinton resident Mary Young to fill the position. She will be responsible for finding ways to reduce the jail population through programs that could include expanded use of electronic monitoring devices; “day reporting”—described as a way to have offenders work on community projects during the day while still sleeping in their own beds at night; and offering more classes like anger management to help offenders deal with some of the underlying issues that led to their arrests and subsequent incarcerations. She will operate out of the Anderson County Jail and officials say that she has worked in a similar program in California. She is expected to begin work on February 2nd. This will be the second attempt to develop a program to deal with overcrowding issues at the Jail. In March of 2013, the program’s first director resigned, saying that he was meeting with resistance from county officials and judges while those same officials said that Baker did not seem to understand the issues specifically faced by Anderson County. Since then, two expansions have created a jail capacity of 565 inmates, one of which—a minimum-security dormitory—is currently not being used because the newly opened 212-bed expansion has allowed inmates to be classified properly, one of the main concerns voiced by state officials, who last month removed the jail from its plan of corrective action. Officials say that even with thousands of unserved warrants still pending, the expanded jail should take care of the county’s needs for the next decade or so. As of this morning, 313 people were listed as being in custody on the Jail website.
CPD investigating man’s death
According to a police report on file at the Clinton Police Department, investigators are looking into the death of a 36-year-old Clinton man. The incident occurred on December 27th when Clinton Police were called to a home on Lee Lane and found 36-year-old Jason Sharp unconscious on the floor, bleeding from his mouth and not breathing. Despite the efforts of first responders, Sharp died shortly after arriving at Methodist Medical Center. The report indicates that witnesses told police that Sharp had been involved in a physical altercation with a 29-year-old male relative and that he had been hit in the face during that fracas. The report indicates that the CPD investigation is ongoing and that no charges have been filed at this time. We will keep you posted as developments warrant.
THP: Man injured in December crash dies
A man injured in a late December accident in Roane County died from his injuries Friday night, according to the Tennessee Highway Patrol. The crash happened on I-40 near Gallaher Road in Kingston on December 27. Troopers say that a car driven by Josephine Yeager had been trying to change lanes when it collided with a Cadillac being driven by Norma Craig. That collision forced the Cadillac into the median. The car became airborne and landed on a concrete divider. Both Craig and her passenger, Jack Craig of Cookeville were injured. Troopers say that Jack Craig passed away from his injuries Friday night. Troopers say that citations were filed in the crash, however, charges were not.
Two charged in Clinton store robbery
According to the Clinton Police Department, two Clinton men are in custody following a weekend convenience store robbery. Officers responded to the call, Sunday morning, at the Git N Go Market on South Charles G Seivers Blvd in Clinton. A clerk told police that two men entered the store between 3 and 3:30 am. She says one man hit her in the head and held her down while the other removed about $255 from the cash register. Two cartons of cigarettes were also taken during the robbery. 21-year-old Jordan Scott was arrested just a few minutes after the incident. Police spotted him walking along the roadway. The second suspect, 21-year-old Danial James Poore, turned himself into police later in the morning. They are charged with robbery.
ORT: ORFD Captain injured fighting Claxton fire
According to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, an Oak Ridge Fire Department captain was injured Sunday morning while assisting on a mutual aid assignment in the Claxton community at 134 Allen Lane, a city press release said. “It appears that a pressure surge in the water supply caused the captain to lose his grip on a hose line that he and his firefighter were operating in the front yard of the residence,” ORFD Deputy Chief Josh Waldo said. “The nozzle on the line came back and struck the captain in the face causing serious injuries.” The Oak Ridge Fire Department reported that the unidentified captain had on all of his protective equipment, but the nozzle hit just below the bottom of his helmet. The captain underwent three hours of surgery to repair multiple fractures in his face, the press release said. He has since been released from the hospital, but is expected to be out of work for several months.
ORT: OSFD’s new policy cuts down on response time
Our partners at Oak Ridge Today report there were no injuries in a house fire late Thursday morning on Foxwood Circle in Oliver Springs. The Oliver Springs Fire Department was able to respond quickly—arriving within four minutes—because of a new standby program. That program uses the Fire Department’s volunteers to staff the station with firefighters to improve staffing levels and allow faster response times, said Justin Bailey, Oliver Springs assistant fire chief. He said Thursday’s porch fire at 120 Foxwood Circle was reported at 11:50 a.m., and it extended into the home’s attic. The fire was brought under control within 30 minutes with help from the Oak Ridge Fire Department and Marlow Volunteer Fire Department through an automatic mutual-aid program.
Bailey said fire damage was contained to the back porch and attic space. Other damage included smoke and water to lower levels of the structure. The American Red Cross was notified to provide help to the family during the extremely cold weather conditions, Bailey said. There were no injuries to the occupants or firefighters. Bailey said the new standby program started January 1, and Thursday’s fire was the first structure fire since it started. “There is no increased cost to the citizens of Oliver Springs with the implementation of this program,” Bailey said.
Vann pleads not guilty in Daugherty disappearance, presumed death
A former Campbell County teacher, accused of murdering and kidnapping a LaFollette woman, pleaded not guilty in court Monday morning. A grand jury indicted 44-year-old Lonnie Lee Vann of Jacksboro on charges of first-degree murder and kidnapping in the disappearance of 49-year-old Rhonda Daugherty. According to court documents, the grand jurors found that Vann "intentionally and with premeditation" killed Daughtery on Dec. 2, 2014 or around that date. Authorities haven't supplied information as to why Vann is linked to Daugherty's presumed death. Authorities accuse Vann of fleeing the area after he killed Daughtery. Police in Myrtle Beach pulled Vann over on Highway 501 and arrested him without any problems on Dec. 12th. Three days before Vann's arrest, officials claim he followed a couple into a hotel, broke into their room, and stole their wallets. Less than a week before that robbery, officials said Vann robbed a Campbell County couple at gunpoint. Authorities also accuse Vann of trying to kiss and hug a 13-year-old female student in Campbell County in Oct. 2013. Investigators claim Vann left LaFollette Middle School with the student and took her to a nearby church. Officials said after the incident, Vann altered images on the church's security camera recordings. In July, a grand jury indicted Vann on charges of solicitation of a minor, tampering with evidence and assault. Rhonda Daughtery's husband, Charles, is a witness in that case. Vann's next court hearing is scheduled for April. The court appointed him a lawyer on Monday.
THP urges caution in cold weather
The Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) is urging citizens to prepare for weather-related problems on the roads across the state this winter. Motorists are encouraged to dial *THP (*847) from a mobile phone for state trooper assistance in case of a roadside emergency.
“We want to make sure all Tennesseans are prepared in case they become stranded on the roads this winter. State troopers are standing by to assist motorists in the event of a roadside emergency during these extreme cold temperatures,” THP Colonel Tracy Trott said.
Citizens who dial *THP (*847) from their cell phones will be connected to the nearest THP Communications Center. The next available state trooper will be dispatched to the area to assist.
Motorists should also prepare their vehicles in case of an emergency on Tennessee roadways. Emergency supplies in vehicles should include, but are not limited to, blankets, water, a windshield scraper, a flash light with fresh batteries, jumper cables and a first aid kit. Additionally, motorists should ensure the vehicle has plenty of fuel and that tires are properly inflated.
During ice or snow in Tennessee, if you must travel, please use extreme caution and take the roadways that have been treated with salt or brine.
Most importantly, motorists should always buckle up and make sure all passengers are properly restrained in the vehicle at all times, especially during inclement weather.
Visit the following link for road safety tips from the state’s Department of Safety and Homeland Security:http://www.tn.gov/safety/10things2know.shtml.
ORT: More on presidential foray in to ET
(Oak Ridge Today) Inspired by programs in Tennessee and Chicago, President Barack Obama has unveiled a proposal to make two years of community college free for anyone who’s willing to work for it, the White House said Thursday.
The White House said 57,000 students representing almost 90 percent of the state’s high school graduating class applied for the Tennessee scholarship program, which is called Tennessee Promise, in the first year. It provides two years of community or technical college to graduating high school seniors free of tuition and fees.
The federal program is called America’s College Promise, and it could benefit roughly nine million students each year, officials said. A full-time community college student could save an average of $3,800 in tuition per year.
The president is expected to announce the proposal in Knoxville on Friday, when he visits Pellissippi State Community College in Hardin Valley and manufacturer Techmer PM in Clinton. Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill will join Obama on the East Tennessee trip.
The president is also expected to discuss his proposal during the State of the Union on January 20.
Under Obama’s new proposal, students would be able to earn the first half of a bachelor’s degree, or earn the technical skills needed in the workforce—all at no cost to them, the White House said.
During his Friday visit, Obama is also expected to launch a new manufacturing innovation hub.
Here are the proposed requirements for America’s College Promise:
Students must attend community college at least half-time, maintain a 2.5 grade point average, and make steady progress toward completing their program.
Community colleges will be expected to offer programs that are either:
Federal funding will cover three-quarters of the average cost of community college. Participating states will be expected to contribute the remaining funds necessary to eliminate the tuition for eligible students.
The president also proposed a new American Technical Training Fund to expand innovative, high-quality technical training programs similar to Tennessee Tech Centers that meet employer needs and help prepare more Americans for better paying jobs, the White House said.
Specifically, the fund will award programs that:
The White House said an estimated 35 percent of job openings will require at least a bachelor’s degree by 2020, and 30 percent will require some college or an associate’s degree.
“The America’s College Promise proposal would create a new partnership with states to help them waive tuition in high-quality programs for responsible students, while promoting key reforms to help more students complete at least two years of college,” the press release said. “Restructuring the community college experience, coupled with free tuition, can lead to gains in student enrollment, persistence, and completion transfer, and employment.”
Vann charged with Rhonda Daugherty’s kidnapping, murder
Former Campbell County middle school teacher turned TBI Most Wanted Fugitive Lonnie Vann has been indicted by a Campbell County grand jury on charges of kidnapping and first-degree murder in the now-presumed death of 49-year-old Rhonda Daugherty, who disappeared from her home in the Coolidge community on December 2nd. Her body has never been found, but the TBI said during a press conference Wednesday that agents “developed information” that led them to look at the 44-year-old Vann as a suspect but declined to specify what that information was. Vann was added to the TBI’s Most Wanted List in December after allegedly robbing a Campbell County couple of cash and weapons at gunpoint, tying them up and taking their car to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. There, he is accused of robbing another couple at gunpoint and was arrested following a traffic stop and held on charges from both Tennessee and South Carolina. He is currently being held in South Carolina on a $1 million bond and authorities hope to return him to Tennessee to face charges in the Daugherty case. At the time of his alleged December “crime spree,” he was already under indictment on charges of soliciting a minor, tampering with evidence and assault in an incident in the fall of 2013 in which he is accused of taking a 13-year-old girl off-campus while employed as a teacher and tried to kiss her in the parking lot a church, Coolidge First Baptist Church, where he is also accused of altering video surveillance tapes to conceal evidence in the case. According to court documents, Rhonda Daugherty’s husband Charles is listed as a witness against Vann in that case but the TBI and Sheriff’s Department officials declined to discuss any possible connection between that fact and her disappearance and presumed death. The search for Rhonda Daugherty has involved dozens of volunteers and the assistance of several area search and rescue agencies but so far has yielded no sign of her. If you have information in the case, the CCSO encourages you to call them at 423-562-7446. A $10,000 reward for information in the case is being offered.
(TBI) A former Top 10 fugitive who had been wanted by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation for armed robbery has now been charged with killing a woman who had been reported missing in Campbell County more than a month ago. Lonnie Lee Vann, 44, has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder and one count of kidnapping, the TBI said in a press release Wednesday, the same day a Campbell County grand jury returned the indictments. At the request of 8th District Attorney General Jared Effler, TBI special agents, helped by investigators from the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement agencies in East Tennessee, began investigating the disappearance of Rhonda Daugherty on December 4. The 49-year woman went missing from her home on December 2. “Through the course of the investigation, special agents developed information that led them to Lonnie Lee Vann as the individual responsible for Mrs. Daugherty’s death,” the TBI said. On December 5, Vann was placed on the TBI Top 10 Most Wanted list as a fugitive wanted for two counts of armed robbery from an incident earlier that day in Lafollette. Vann was captured without incident in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, a week later and has been held there since his arrest. Vann is a Jacksboro resident and former Campbell County middle school teacher. He is awaiting extradition back to Campbell County. He is being held on a $1 million bond on the new charges, the press release said.
Fire at Clinton Towers injures none, displaces 30
What was described as a “room and content” fire at the Clinton Towers on Seivers Boulevard Wednesday night caused some damage and displaced about 30 residents. The fire was reported at around 11 pm inside a room on the second floor injured no one as Fire Chief Archie Brummitt says that the sprinkler system inside the room “did its job,” allowing firefighters to completely extinguish the blaze within just a few minutes of their arrival, but described the room as a “total loss.” Several other rooms suffered smoke and water damage. The cause of the fire appears to be accidental and while the exact cause is unknown, the fire may have started in the room’s heating unit. The Red Cross is assisting the displaced residents. We will bring you more information as it becomes available.
Isbel invites Obama, Bidens to Rocky Top
Anderson County Commissioner Tim Isbel has written a letter to the White House asking that on Friday, President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, include a stop in Rocky Top as part of their foray into Anderson County and east Tennessee. Describing the town formerly known as Lake City as a “small, impoverished coal mining community…[where] 50% of the current population lives below the poverty level,” Isbel lays out the transformation to Rocky Top and some of the ambitious plans to revitalize the city. Those plans include a proposed 450-acre waterfront amusement park and “an American owned and operated Denim jeans manufacturing plant where all the jeans will be 100% American made with 100% American materials.” Isbel’s letter—posted on our website’s Local Information News page—he invites the trio to visit the proposed sites as a way to “propel these business ventures to reach fruition and provide over a thousand Americans employment opportunities.” The letter also offers incentives in the form of custom-made Marc Nelson Rocky Top Tri Star jeans and Marc Nelson Rocky, Top Tennessee 37769 t-shirts to the President, Vice President and both of their wives. As of this morning, Isbel had not received a response from the White House but we will keep you posted.
(Commissioner Isbel’s letter to the White House)
I am writing this letter to respectfully ask for your assistance in the resurgence of a small impoverished coal mining community that was very instrumental in the development of this great nation, during the Industrial Revolution, due to the ability to produce coal. Since the decline of the coal industry, this community has suffered economically and 50% of the current population lives below the poverty level.
Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Tim Isbel, the Anderson County Commissioner that represents this community of Lake City, Tennessee. Just over a year ago, the Mayor and City Council of Lake City and myself set out to change the direction of the city. This city, nestled between Norris Lake and the Cumberland Mountains, has the assets of having two major interchanges off the I-75 corridor, an abundance of uninhabited property, existing infrastructure, and just 25 miles from Knoxville, Tennessee and interstate I-40. We realized that there was not a city named Rocky Top in Tennessee. We petitioned the state of Tennessee to change our name to Rocky Top to draw attention to the area and make our town a tourist destination. The state of Tennessee has allowed the name change and also awarded this community a three year tax incentive to assist in the development. This undertaking has yielded several opportunities such as a proposed 450 acre waterfront amusement park and an American owned and operated Denim jeans manufacturing plant where all the jeans will be 100% American made with 100% American materials.
The mayor and city council of Rocky Top, Marc Nelson with Marc Nelson Denim, and myself would cordially like to invite you, Vice President Biden, and Mrs. Biden to visit the proposed site for the denim manufacturing plant and proposed waterfront amusement park. We feel your blessings could propel these business ventures to reach fruition and provide over a thousand Americans employment opportunities. Marc Nelson would like to present you, Mrs. Obama, Vice President Biden, and Mrs. Biden a custom pair of Marc Nelson Rocky Top Tri Star jeans and a Marc Nelson Rocky Top, Tennessee 37769 T-shirt, American made items to be manufactured in Rocky Top, Tennessee. Thank you for your consideration.
Anderson County, TN Commissioner, District 4
Despite party differences, Frank calls visit “honor”
Despite the president's admitted lack of popularity in Anderson County, a county that twice heavily voted against him in Presidential elections, most people seem to share the sentiment that the historic visit by the President and Vice President is indeed an “honor” and will have a long-lasting positive impact on Clinton and Anderson County. County Mayor Terry Frank, herself a staunch Republican, called the visit a “big win” for the county and added: “When the President comes, it’s going to shine a spotlight on our accomplishments. Why is he here? He’s here because we know how to work hard, we know how to bring business, we know ho to get the job done, we know how to generate profits for businesses that generate more profits and create prosperity for people in this country.” She also remarked that while presidents have in the past visited the region, never before “have the President and Vice President come right into the heart of [Anderson County]…the Sheriff’s department and the Clinton Police Department been engaged in the security detail, and the traffic detail and so this is an ‘all-in’ moment for Anderson County. That’s pretty exciting…and of course, the pageantry of a Presidential motorcade is going to be exciting.” With the guest list at Techmer PM a closely-guarded secret and apparently very exclusive, Mayor Frank says that she has not received an invitation to the event in Clinton, saying that to her knowledge, the only local official who has told her he has been invited is Clinton Mayor Scott Burton. WYSH will cover the Presidential visit beginning Friday morning on the Country Club Morning Show.
City Manager: Visit an ‘honor,’ cost to city unknown
Clinton City Manager Roger Houck told WYSH this morning that for a city of Clinton’s size, being chosen for a presidential visit is an honor and worth the extra effort that local officials have been making this week. Houck also talked about how the visit will give national attention to the city, its attractiveness for both companies and potential employees and even more economic development. Houck also said that the extra costs to the city associated with the visit, which will not be reimbursed by the White House, are unclear at this time but will be worked out over the next couple of weeks.
AC Health Department offering free flu shots
Flu season is here, with seasonal influenza cases now reported across Tennessee.
The Anderson County Health Department is working to protect the entire community by providing free flu vaccinations to area residents until vaccine supplies are depleted. Appointments must be made to receive flu vaccine, and they are now being scheduled at the clinic. “Vaccination is the best protection against the flu, and the Anderson County Health Department, the Tennessee Department of Health, and the CDC recommend that everyone six months of age and older get a flu vaccine every year,” said Art Miller, county director. “It takes about two weeks to be protected after you get the flu vaccine, so we want everyone who hasn’t had their flu shot to get one right away.” Flu shots will be provided at no charge to patients. Both adults and children may receive flu vaccine at the clinic. Please call the Anderson County Health Department at (865) 425-8801 today to book your appointment or for more information. The clinic is located at 710 North Main Street in Clinton, and it is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Statewide traffic deaths down, up in Knoxville area counties
(TDOSHS) Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons and Department of Transportation Commissioner John Schroer today announced the preliminary number of traffic fatalities in Tennessee last year and the state’s strategic highway safety plan for 2015. The 2014 traffic fatality numbers include vehicular deaths reported by all Tennessee law enforcement agencies.
Early figures indicate there were 961 vehicular deaths on Tennessee roadways in 2014. That’s the second lowest traffic fatality number since 1963 and the fifth time traffic deaths have dipped below 1,000 since that year.
The 2014 traffic fatality figure also represents a 3.4 percent decrease in the number of traffic-related deaths in Tennessee compared to the 995 traffic fatalities in 2013.
While the state saw an overall decrease, the Knoxville District saw an 8 percent increase in the number of deaths from 2013 to 2014, with fatalities climbing from 151 to 164. Anderson County saw the biggest jump in traffic deaths with 17 last year compared to 10 the previous year. Traffic deaths in Knox, Blount and Morgan counties declined, but elsewhere Campbell County and Roane County saw an increase from nine the previous year to 11 in Campbell County in 2014 and 10 in Roane. Union County saw fatalities increase from 3 to 5 last year.
“Commissioner Schroer and I have a shared goal to make an impact on traffic fatalities in our state,” Commissioner Gibbons said. “Tennessee has experienced record low numbers in three of the last four years; and we hope to continue that trend in the future. We’ll continue to deploy our resources to help reduce fatal crashes across the state,” he added.
Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) Colonel Tracy Trott credited DUI and seat belt enforcement for the decline in traffic-related deaths. State troopers arrested nearly 2,000 more individuals on suspicion of DUI in 2014, compared to 2013. Subsequently, there was an 18.6 percent drop in alcohol-related traffic fatalities from 2013 to 2014 in Tennessee.
THP personnel also have experienced a 149 percent increase in the number of DUI arrests since 2010.
“I know that our traffic enforcement efforts are making a difference in Tennessee,” Colonel Trott said. “Those numbers are not by accident; they are by design. We’ve placed a greater emphasis on removing impaired drivers from our roadways in the last few years and the traffic fatality figures are a result of those efforts.”
Seat belt and child restraint device education and enforcement efforts were also a priority for the THP. Tennessee state troopers issued 102,758 seat belt citations in 2014, approximately 28,000 more than the 74,277 citations handed out in 2013. That represents a 225 percent increase in seat belt citations since 2010.
“Unrestrained motorists still accounted for 50 percent of vehicle occupants killed in 2014,” Trott said. “Seat belts save lives. We have to change driver behavior in order to make a difference there.”
Other contributing factors in fatal crashes included speed and distracted driving, with 132 and 41 deaths, respectively.
“We’ve made vast improvements in all areas of traffic safety; however, we have much more to accomplish and hope to see even better results in 2015,” Commissioner Gibbons said.
TDOT Commissioner Schroer presented the department’s plan to improve highway safety in 2015. The Strategic Highway Safety Plan, Tennessee’s comprehensive transportation safety strategy, was first developed in 2004.
The latest plan adopts a “Toward Zero Deaths” vision statement, which is a national strategy to improve highway safety. The plan’s primary goal is to reduce the number and rate of fatalities by 10 percent within the next five years.
“Reducing the number of fatalities by 10 percent is a realistic, but challenging goal,” TDOT Commissioner John Schroer said. “By designing safer roads, using data driven enforcement and educating drivers, we can make drastic improvements and save hundreds of lives.”
The Strategic Highway Safety Plan addresses emphasis areas utilizing the “Four E’s of Transportation Safety”: Engineering, Enforcement, Education, and Emergency Response. Strategic Highway Safety Plan emphasis areas include:
· Data Collection & Analysis
· Driver Behavior
· Infrastructure Improvements
· Vulnerable Road Users
· Operational Improvements
· Motor Carrier Safety
Public safety partners involved with the development of this plan include, TDOT, the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, the Tennessee Highway Patrol, the Governor’s Highway Safety Office, Federal Highway Administration, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Metropolitan Planning Organizations and Rural Planning Organizations, Tennessee Regional Safety Council, Tennessee Transportation Assistance Program and American Automobile Association.
Rockwood PD arrests suspect in City Hall break-in
Police in Rockwood have arrested a man they say broke into city hall. Investigators say Dustin Scarbrough is the man captured on surveillance video Saturday night showing a man breaking a window at the building. Officers say Scarbrough got away with about $150 that was in the overnight drop-box. Police say social media was crucial in Scarbrough's capture. Scarbrough faces several charges.
CHS offensive coordinator to take over Powell program
Clinton High School football offensive coordinator Rodney Ellison has been named the new coach at Powell High School in Knoxville. He previously was head coach at Wartburg for one season in 2011 before coming to Clinton, where he helped revitalize the Dragon program with an up-tempo, spread-style offense.
President Obama, both Bidens headed to Clinton
The rumors are true. President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and Biden’s wife Jill will visit Pellissippi State Community College in west Knox County and Techmer PM right here in Clinton during their visit to East Tennessee on Friday. The president, vice president, and the vice president’s wife will stop at Pellissippi State in west Knox County to discuss new initiatives that Obama will propose to help Americans go to college and get the skills they need to succeed. Later, the trio will travel to Techmer PM in Clinton—which manufactures additives and colors for a wide range of plastics—to highlight the administration’s efforts to create new, well-paying manufacturing jobs. Techmer PM issued a statement on Monday saying, "We're excited that the president and vice president have chosen Techmer PM and Clinton, Tenn., to see our technology." Local economic development officials hope that the president's visit will help businesses continue the momentum Anderson County and Clinton have picked up over the past couple of years by attracting more skilled labor to the region and getting more companies interested in moving to the area.
Few details of the visit have been released for obvious security reasons, but we did catch up with Clinton Police Chief Rick Scarbrough Tuesday morning to find out what role the CPD will play on Friday: “Our role is going to be coordinate site security with the Secret Service…we’ve already met with the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department and the [numerous] other local agencies that will be involved. We’ve had briefings and will continue to work throughout the week. It’s a great opportunity for Clinton to be showcased and we are excited to do whatever we can.” As far as the logistics of the visit, Scarbrough called it a massive undertaking with a lot of moving parts. The timing of the visit is being kept under wraps but it is expected to happen in the early afternoon following a morning visit to Pellissippi State. Scarbrough did tell us that between his department and the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department, dozens of intersections along the motorcade’s expected route will have to be covered in addition to whatever Oak Ridge Police will have to cover. Preparation, meetings and briefings will continue throughout the week but Scarbrough says that despite the logistical hassles of a presidential visit, it will be worth it because “just the idea that the President of the United States has chosen to come to Clinton is an honor for us.”
The visit is part of a week-long, cross-country tour to promote presidential policies on housing, economic development, and education. The president also plans trips to Detroit and Phoenix this week before ending his week in Tennessee.
It will be Obama’s second visit to Tennessee in recent weeks and his third in the last 13 months. The president visited Nashville in December, when he touted the city’s diversity and blossoming immigrant community in a speech highlighting his actions on immigration reform. In January 2014, he visited McGavock High School to call attention to Nashville’s academies as models for successful high school education.
ORT: Jackson Square construction underway
(Oak Ridge Today) Construction work has started on the $1 million rebuild of the parking lot area at Jackson Square, Oak Ridge’s original town center.
Crews started putting up construction fencing on Monday. Project executives and city officials plan to complete the work in 180 days, or roughly six months—before the Lavender Festival in June.
The construction contract was awarded to Rich Construction Inc. of Lenoir City by the Oak Ridge City Council in October.
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, said Johnson and Roger Flynn, Oak Ridge Public Works engineer. 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.
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.
Construction workers are trying to reduce the impact on the businesses in Jackson Square. At the request of merchants, the project was delayed until after January 1—after the holiday shopping season was over, she said.
On Monday, workers were putting up a chain link fence around the parking lot—but continuing to allow access to the sidewalk in front of the Jackson Square businesses. The fence will secure the inner work area and heavy equipment.
The city has improved the Farmers Market parking lot on the north side of Broadway to help with parking while the Jackson Square parking lot is being renovated.
The city’s share of the construction project is estimated at $293,617. The city is responsible for 100 percent of the cost of engineering services for project design and for 100 percent of any construction costs over the 80 percent TDOT budget amount.
The City Council awarded a $150,000 contract for design services for the Jackson Square project in February 2013.
Hetrick new OR Rec & Parks director
Jon Hetrick has been appointed director of the Oak Ridge Recreation and Parks Department, City Manager Mark Watson announced Friday. Hetrick has been the acting director since Josh Collins retired in October.
As director, Hetrick will manage and direct the activities the city’s recreation and parks programs, services, and facilities, including the Civic Center, and Scarboro and Senior centers, as well as the Centennial Golf Course. His work responsibilities will include overseeing summer programs and supervising a staff of more than 80 seasonal and regular employees.
Hetrick has served as the division director of Parks and Parks Maintenance since 2003. He has been active in planning, design, and maintenance of city facilities, and has recently worked with the city manager on the possible transition of Clark Center Park to the city. The press release said he helped oversee the construction of the new PetSafe dog park, and also the building and development of the popular trail system along Melton Lake Drive and Haw Ridge.
A Pennsylvania native, Hetrick has a bachelor’s degree in horticulture and landscape design from the University of Tennessee. His work history includes management and supervisory positions in private nurseries, landscaping companies, and residential construction. His salary is $69,805.
Tennessee voted State of the Year by leading business magazine
(State of Tennessee) Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam announced Monday that Business Facilities, a leading national publication focused on site selection and economic development, has named Tennessee its 2014 State of the Year for a second consecutive year.
Tennessee becomes the first state in the award’s history to win back-to-back honors for economic development efforts and the first state to win the designation three times, winning in 2014, 2013, and 2009, a press release said.
“It is an honor to be the first state to receive this recognition two years in a row,” Haslam said. “We have a great story to tell in Tennessee. Businesses continue to make the decision to locate, expand and grow here, and we are grateful for those strong partnerships. We will continue doing all we can to make sure we offer an attractive business climate and skilled workforce to be the number one location in the Southeast for high quality jobs.”
Some of Tennessee’s top economic development projects in 2014 included Volkswagen Group of America’s Chattanooga expansion creating 2,000 jobs with an investment of $600 million, Under Armour’s new Mount Juliet fulfillment center creating 1,500 jobs with an investment of more than $100 million, SL Tennessee’s Clinton expansion creating 1,000 jobs with an $80.5 million investment, and Conduit Global’s new Memphis call center creating 1,000 jobs with an $8 million investment.
“Being named first of 50 states for economic development for two consecutive years underscores the effectiveness of the new operating model we’ve deployed in Tennessee—one whose success is enhanced through our field network and through close coordination with our local partners,” Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty said. “Our historic wins validate the incredible momentum, fierce competitiveness, and promising future that Tennessee possesses and emphasizes our intense focus on recruiting expanding and new companies.
“More and more business leaders around the world are recognizing that Tennessee is the best location and smartest choice for successful business operations. I am very proud of our department and our statewide partners who have worked tirelessly to drive us toward the goal of being number one. Brand Tennessee continues its meteoric rise.”
The press release said the magazine cited Tennessee’s successful execution of a diversified growth strategy, as well as an emphasis on infrastructure and education, as key factors in securing consecutive victories.
“Tennessee is one of a handful of states that have clearly made economic development priority number one,” Business Facilities Editor-in-Chief Jack Rogers said. “With a powerhouse automotive cluster, world-class infrastructure, and the nation’s most improved education system, we could be looking at a State of the Year dynasty in the making.
“We thought it would be hard for the Volunteer State to match last year’s performance, but the folks in Tennessee keep reeling in one mega-project after another,” Rogers said. “Most impressive, Tennessee seemed to pick up momentum as they went along.”
The press release said Tennessee has also fared well in Business Facilities’ annual rankings report, finishing first in the “Education: Race to the Top” category, second in “Best Infrastructure,” and being named the top state for “Automotive Manufacturing Strength” for four of the past five years.
“For two years in a row, Tennessee has notched one of the strongest across-the-board showings in our annual State Rankings Report,” Rogers added.
For more information on the State of the Year competition and Business Facilities, please visit BusinessFacilities.com.
GSMNP changes firewood regs to protect forests
(GSMNP) Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced regulation changes that will help protect park forests by limiting the type of firewood brought into the park. Beginning in March 2015, only heat-treated firewood that is bundled and displays a certification stamp by the USDA or a state department of agriculture will be allowed for use in park campgrounds. Heat-treated firewood will be available to purchase from concessioners in many of the campgrounds as well as from private businesses in the communities around the park. Certified heat-treated firewood is packaged in 0.75 cu-ft. bundles clearly displaying a certification stamp. The wood is a high-quality hardwood product that has been heated for 60 minutes at 140 degrees Fahrenheit. The wood lights easily, burns well for campfires, is safe to cook over, and is already available at over 85 locations near the park that can be viewed on an interactive map by visiting www.nature.org/firewoodmap. In addition, visitors may still collect dead and down wood in the park for campfires.
“The threat of these new pests coming into our forests, both in the park and regionally, compels us to do all we can to reduce the risk to our forests,” said Acting Superintendent Clayton Jordan. “While a ban on the importation of non-treated firewood will not entirely halt the spread of destructive forest pests and diseases, it will greatly slow it down. This allows time to develop and implement new treatment strategies to help control the impacts from these non-native pests and diseases.”
Non-native, tree-killing insects and diseases can unknowingly be introduced through firewood transported from infested areas. A variety of destructive pests lay eggs or stowaway in firewood. These insects from Asia and Europe have the potential to devastate over 30 species of hardwood trees native to the park. New infestations threaten our forests with widespread tree mortality that could devastate wildlife habitat, biodiversity, and scenic views. The use of firewood that has been heat treated eliminates the threat posed by these pests through the movement and use of wood in campfires.
National parks throughout the Appalachian region have taken action to limit the spread of insect pests in firewood including, in many cases, the banning of imported firewood. For the past three years, the Smokies has prohibited the importation of firewood from areas quarantined by the USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service. Park rangers have been working over the past year with numerous partners representing federal and state agencies, conservation organizations, and universities to mitigate the risks associated with movement of firewood including a public education campaign with campground programs and regionally placed billboards. The park also hosted public meetings and developed an informational handout that was provided to all Smokies campers throughout the summer inviting public comments.
For more information about firewood and forest and insect pests in the park, please visit the park website athttp://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/firewood-alert.htm.
Update: Archer says he will choose delinquent tax attorney
As we have been reporting, Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank removed Law Director Jay Yeager from representing the county as its delinquent tax attorney this week. In a letter dated Monday, Frank cites language in the Private Act that created the law director’s office that states the law director may act as the county’s delinquent tax attorney “upon selection as such by the county trustee and the approval of the county mayor.” Frank writes that “I do not believe that you have acted properly, ethically, or legally performing the role of Delinquent Tax Attorney…effective immediately, you do not have the approval of the County Mayor to act” in that role.
In a separate Monday letter, this one to Trustee Rodney Archer, Mayor Frank recommends that Archer work with County Purchasing Agent Pamela Cotham and issue an RFP (request for proposals), or accept proposals from qualified and experienced attorneys who might offer to perform the functions based on the lowest possible percentage.
Archer issued a formal response Wednesday to the mayor’s suggestion by stating that he will make the appointment as written in the Private Act on or before February 27th and that he will “oppose any measure to take away the right for the Trustee now, or in the future, to appoint the county’s delinquent tax attorney.” When the Private Act was enacted in 2006, Archer was serving as a commissioner and says that he believes the intent of act was “for the County Law Director to serve in the role of delinquent tax attorney for Anderson County in order to offset the department’s budget,” according to his letter to Mayor Frank, in which he also writes “I am concerned that deviating from the current arrangement could cost the taxpayers a significant amount of money.” Archer says there are several ways to address the issue, which could include asking for permission and funding from the County Commission to hire an outside attorney or appointing the Law Director. Archer states that he will make his recommendation in writing before the end of February and submit it to the mayor’s office.
(County Trustee Rodney Archer’s response to Mayor Frank)
Dear Mayor Frank:
The Private Act that you referenced in your letter to me dated December 29, 2014 was enacted during my tenure on the County Commission. I believe that the intent of this Act was for the County Law Director to serve in the role of delinquent tax attorney for Anderson County in order to offset the department’s budget. The Board of Commissioners, at that time, saw the need to fund a full time County Law Director and used the proceeds received from the delinquent tax attorney to assist in funding the full time Director’s position and their overall department. I am concerned that deviating from the current arrangement could cost the taxpayers a significant amount of money.
There are several ways in which this issue can be resolved. The Trustee may request permission and funding from the Board of Commissioners to hire or contract with a staff attorney to serve as the delinquent tax attorney, the Trustee may simply appoint an attorney in private practice to serve in this capacity, or the Trustee may appoint the County Law Director. Let me be clear: I will oppose any measure to take away the right for the Trustee now, or in the future, to appoint the county’s delinquent tax attorney.
You are correct that the appointment of the delinquent tax attorney is subject to the approval of the County Mayor. By statute, the delinquent property taxes are to be turned over by the Trustee on or before April 1st each year, therefore a decision must be reached before that date. I will not be issuing an RFP for such services as the statute is clear that the Trustee shall make the appointment. I intend to make my decision/appointment on or before February 27, 2015. The decision/appointment will be made in writing and submitted to you for your approval, if necessary.
Anderson County Trustee
Commissioner and former interim County Mayor Myron Iwanski weighed in on this latest controversy, telling WYSH: “This is just another attempt to discredit Jay based on misleading information. The Mayor's proposal will only end up costing the taxpayers more money since we will need to use tax revenue rather than delinquent tax sales fees to fund his office. In all the years Jay has worked for the multitude of elected officials, we have never had the kinds of issues the Mayor claims since she has been in office. I am very concerned that this and all the lawsuits the Mayor is behind will lead to a tax increase - something none of us on Commission want. County Commission needs to look at all of its options for dealing with this, including the private act.”
AC man killed in apparently accidental shooting
A 23-year-old Rocky Top man was killed in an apparently accidental shooting Tuesday night at a home on Dutch Valley Road. Anderson County deputies and EMS crews were dispatched to the home at 2688 Dutch Valley Road shortly before 10 pm Tuesday and when they arrived, deputies made contact with Joseph McClane, who told them he had accidentally shot his friend, Christopher Scott Cody Bunch in the chest. A first aid-certified neighbor was applying pressure to the wound when deputies arrived but paramedics pronounced Bunch dead at the scene. Deputies interviewed nine people at the home and their stories were all very similar in that they said that a group of friends were standing in a room next to the kitchen talking about the gun in McClane’s hand, specifically the difference between a single action and double action gun, when it fired. McClane said that he had his thumb on the hammer and his finger on the trigger and was trying to de-cock the hammer when it somehow slipped and the gun went off. McClane told deputies that he thought the round had hit a wall until Bunch looked at him, grabbed his chest and said “I’ve been shot.” The incident is being investigated by detectives.
Alcoa PD: 1 dead, OR man critical after Monday wreck
Alcoa Police have identified a man hurt in a crash on Alcoa Highway that killed his son as an 61-year-old Joseph Eatherly of Oak Ridge and say that he is still in critical condition at UT Medical Center. Officials pronounced Eatherly's adult son, Eric, who resided in Chattanooga dead at the scene. Officers said the elder Eatherly tried to make a U-turn near the Airport Hilton when a Ford Escape crashed into his car just before 6:40 a.m. Monday. The driver of the Escape, 48-year-old Beth Beard, was also injured and taken to UT Medical Center, but she's expected to be okay. Investigators said neither Eatherly was wearing a seatbelt. Alcoa police are still investigating the crash.
Mayor relieves law director of delinquent tax duties
The high-profile dispute between Anderson County’s Mayor and Law Director took another turn this week as Mayor Terry Frank relieved Law Director Jay Yeager from representing the county as a delinquent tax attorney. In a letter dated Monday, Frank cites language in the Private Act that created the law director’s office that states the law director may act as the county’s delinquent tax attorney “upon selection as such by the county trustee and the approval of the county mayor.” Frank says that despite requesting documentation of his selection and approval for nine months, Yeager has yet to provide that information and states that it “has become a public issue as the petitioners in the ouster case have publicly identified [it] as an issue.” In the letter, Frank says that since she has begun her full, four-year term, she is no longer bound by any agreements that may have been made by any of her predecessors. She was first elected to a two-year term in 2012. Frank writes that “I do not believe that you have acted properly, ethically, or legally performing the role of Delinquent Tax Attorney…effective immediately, you do not have the approval of the County Mayor to act” in that role. The letter alleges that Yeager has failed to perform proper title searches before “taking taxpayers’ property at tax sales”; charged “significant fees” to delinquent taxpayers for title searches that are “nothing more than internet searches” by Yeager’s staff; failed to properly advise officials and property owners of delinquent tax issues; failed to correct errors in a “reasonably timely manner”; failed to interact with taxpayers in a “civil and professional manner”; and failed to properly document tax sales. The letter goes on to say that Frank’s office has received numerous complaints Yeager’s “behavior [in the role of] delinquent tax attorney” and that county officials do not yet have the deeds from last year’s tax sale. Frank’s letter goes on to state “knowing that it is my belief that Anderson County did not hold title to the Daya property that is subject to current litigation, I believe you have attempted to advise me to commit a criminal act by advising both me and the Delinquent Tax Committee to sign the deed anyway.” She also wrote that she is concerned that if he was indeed never authorized as delinquent tax attorney as prompted by the act that created the law director’s office, that the county could be open to more litigation. The letter concludes by ordering Yeager to coordinate with the Trustee’s office to turn over all “documents, correspondence and other materials” related to delinquent tax issues, and refrain immediately from holding” himself out as the county’s delinquent tax attorney. WYSH has reached out to Yeager, Mayor Frank and County Commission Chairman Robert McKamey for comment. Mayor Frank responded in an e-mail this morning (12/31) and wrote that “One of the reasons the Private Act included such an enormous salary for the Law Director was supposedly based on the ability to perform the delinquent tax work. Of course, that was supposing competent performance of the duties.” In a separate letter to Trustee Rodney Archer, Mayor Frank recommends that he work with County Purchasing Agent Pamela Cotham and issue an RFP (request for proposals), or accept proposals from qualified and experienced attorneys who might offer to perform the functions based on the lowest possible percentage.
(Update) Commission Chairman Robert McKamey responded by telephone to requests for comment and said, “this will cost the county money” as Yeager’s office is funded by delinquent tax sales and outside counsel could keep as much as 10% of the revenue for him- or herself up to $100,000 per year that would not be rolled into the county general fund. McKamey says the county is not required to hold a delinquent tax sale every year and if that were to happen—or not happen in this case—that would mean no extra money for outside legal counsel. When asked if there were any legislative avenues to circumvent or otherwise address the Mayor’s decision, McKamey said that the commission could amend the private act to require the Law Director to serve as the Delinquent Tax Attorney rather than making that a discretionary provision of the private act. McKamey has contacted UT’s County Technical Advisory Service, or CTAS, for guidance on what to do if the County Trustee and Mayor cannot agree on an attorney to handle these duties and is awaiting a response.
(More of Mayor Frank’s response to inquiries from WYSH) Of course, Anderson County can get a new Law Director, one who understands the Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct and who won’t use his office and his position as counsel to personally benefit himself and then we can go back to using the Law Director as the Delinquent Tax Attorney. We can also get a new Law Director who understands his/her responsibility to properly conduct title work and tax sales and who won’t get the county embroiled in lawsuits, and that would save us having to go outside.
If you look at all of the outside counsel having to be hired, it is because Mr. Yeager is conflicted and unable to represent those in Anderson County---it is not because of me or commission or any conflict on OUR part. If the current Law Director could maintain his role as an advisor instead of injecting himself into situations where he ends up being a witness, we wouldn’t be paying all these bills.
The position of Law Director was created as a supposed cost-savings plan, but it doesn’t appear to be working out that way. We either need to replace him or change the private act.
(Letter from Mayor Frank to Law Director Yeager) The Private Act creating the Office of County Law Director specifies that the Law Director may act as Anderson County's delinquent tax attorney "upon selection as such by the county trustee and approval by the county mayor." I have been unable to identify that you were ever selected by the County Trustee or approved by a County Mayor. Beginning approximately nine months ago, I began asking you for documentation of your selection and approval as delinquent tax attorney. Written requests were made for this information on March 1.9,201.4, and May 1.6,20L4. This has become a public issue, as the petitioners in the ouster case have publicly identified this as an issue. Notwithstanding all of this history, you have never provided documentation that you are authorized as required by the Private Act. Now that I have begun a new four-year term, I am not bound by any approvals of any prior mayors, if they existed. I do not believe that you have properly, ethically, or legally performed the role of Delinquent Tax Attorney. Among other things, you have:
My office has received numerous complaints, tearful telephone calls, and in-person meetings with Anderson County citizens who have described rude and abrasive behavior by you in your role as delinquent tax attorney. Kevin Bowling, who maintains our list of delinquent tax properties, still does not possess deeds on properties from last year's tax sale. Rather than get those properties back on the county's tax rolls, Mr. Bowling is forced to fend off inquiries from potential purchasers. In addition, knowing that it is my belief that Anderson County did not hold title to the Daya property that is subject
to current litigation, I believe you have attempted to advise me to commit a crime by advising both me and the Delinquent Tax committee to sign the deed anyway. (See attached TCA 66-3-104.) Finally, there is a legal concern that if you never were properly authorized, then all of your purported actions in the role of Delinquent Tax Attorney may be ultro vires and unlawful. There are at least two lawsuits pending against the county because of your failure to perform the duties of Delinquent Tax Attorney in a proper manner.
It would be irresponsible for those with responsibility for filling the position of delinquent tax attorney to ignore all of the above and allow you to continue in this position. Effective immediately, you do not have the approval of the County Mayor to act as delinquent tax attorney, as required by the Private Act and Tenn. Code Ann. 5 67-5-2a0a(a)(1). Please coordinate with the County Trustee for the turnover of all documents, correspondence, and other materials related to delinquent tax issues, and refrain immediately from holding yourself out as being authorized to act in any regard as Anderson County's delinquent tax attorney.
(Letter from Mayor Frank to Trustee Rodney Archer) The Private Act creating the office of County Law Director specifies that the Law Director may act as Anderson County's delinquent tax attorney "upon selection as such by the county trustee and approval by the county mayor." I have been unable toi dentify that Mr. Yeager was ever selected by the County Trustee or approved by a County Mayor. Because I was elected mid-term, I did not know if Mr. Yeager had been selected and approved under Mayor Lynch or lnterim Mayor lwanski. Beginning approximately nine months ago, I began asking Mr. Yeager for documentation of his selection and approval as delinquent tax attorney. Written requests were made for this information on March 19, 201.4, and May16, 2014. Ithas become a public issue, as the petitioners in the ouster case have identified this as an issue. Notwithstanding allof this history, Mr. Yeager has never provided documentation that he is authorized as required by the Private Act.
Now that I have begun a new four-year term, I do not feel bound by any prior authorizations, if they existed. I do not believe that Mr. Yeager has properly, ethically, or legally performed the role of Delinquent Tax Attorney. Among other things, Mr. Yeager has:
My office has received numerous complaints, tearful telephone calls, and in-person meetings with Anderson County citizens who have described rude and abrasive behavior by Mr. Yeager in his role as delinquent tax attorney. Kevin Bowling, who maintains our list of delinquent tax properties, still does not possess deeds on properties from last year's tax sale. Rather than get those properties back on the county's tax rolls, Mr. Bowling is forced to fend off inquiries from potential purchasers. In addition, knowing it is my belief that Anderson County did not hold title to the Daya property that is subject to current litigation, Mr. Yeager encouraged me to sign the deed anyway because my signature wasn't a "guarantee." However, I have attached the statute on point, and as you can see by reading the statute, I can only believe that Mr. Yeager was attempting to advise me to commit a crime. Finally, there is a fear that if Mr. Yeager never was properly authorized, then all of his purported actions in the role of Delinquent Tax Attorney may be ultra vires and unlawful. There are at least two lawsuits pending against the county because of Mr. Yeager's failure to perform the duties of Delinquent Tax Attorney in a proper manner. lt would be irresponsible for those with responsibility for filling that position to ignore all of the above and allow him to continue in this position. Although having the Law Director fill the role as Delinquent Tax Attorney avoids the necessity of paying fees to an outside attorney, the cost to the county to deal with the resulting lawsuits, in addition to the frustration of the civil servants and taxpayers who have to work with him, makes it very worthwhile to have somebody else perform those duties.
So you are aware, I am also noticing Mr. Yeager that effective immediately, he does not have the approval of the County Mayor to act as delinquent tax attorney, as required by the Private Act and Tenn. Code Ann. 5 67-5-2404(a)(1).
I look forward to your thoughts and to working with you to identify a qualified attorney to serve as Anderson County's Delinquent Tax Attorney. My recommendation would be to work with Pamela Cotham and issue an RFP, or accept proposals from qualified and experienced attorneys who might offer to perform the functions based on the lowest possible percentage.
Mayor vetoes resolution dealing with legal bills
Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank has vetoed a resolution passed unanimously by the County Commission earlier this month that would establish procedures for the county when outside legal counsel is needed for county employees not covered by the law director or counsel from the county’s insurance provider. The measure would require all requests for outside counsel to be submitted in writing to both County Commission Chairman Robert McKamey and Law Director Jay Yeager. The Courier News reports that commissioners found out about the veto on Friday. In a letter explaining her decision sent to McKamey, the mayor indicated that she had concerns that the resolution could conflict with existing state laws and could lead to perceived or real conflicts of interest related to Yeager’s office. As was pointed out during this month’s Commission meeting, the resolution’s purpose was to provide the Budget Department with safeguards when paying legal bills for the county and make sure that everyone knew what was happening with the various legal actions occurring in the county. Mayor Frank’s letter indicates her concerns over allowing Yeager to view the requests, writing “As you can imagine, allowing the Law Director to inspect the invoices of counsel in a case where the Law Director may be adverse or perhaps be a witness, would be fraught with both real and perceived conflicts, should he fail to issue his approval.” McKamey told the Courier that he believes that the mayor simply does not want Yeager to know what is going on, adding that the resolution was an attempt to “take some heat off” the Budget Office, which had been accused of paying legal bills illegally, had some bills sent back and paid some that did not need to be paid. During the December Commission meeting, Budget Director Chris Phillips told commissioners that when legal bills come in to his office, he pays them because he “just assumed they needed to be paid.” It remains unclear if commissioners will attempt to override her veto or let the resolution go by the wayside.
(Mayor Frank’s letter explaining veto to Commission Chairman McKamey) I am vetoing the Resolution passed by County Commission Monday night in order to give us all more time to address some of the possible issues with the resolution. I am concerned the Resolution to establish a procedure to pay invoices for legal fees from outside counsel conflicts with Chapter 77 of the Private Act of 2006, establishing the Office of the Law Director, and also conflicts with the powers and duties of the County Mayor established by statutory law. In addition, I believe the Resolution may conflict with the Rules of Professional Conduct established by the Tennessee Bar Association that any Law Director employed by Anderson County is required to follow.
As drafted, S 3 of the Resolution may be circumventing 5.10 of the private act by transferring designated power and duty of the County Mayor as the Chief Financial Officer of the County to the office of the Law Director, and in that regard, may be circumventing the Accounting Officer and General Agent of the County and also TCA 5 4-6-108.
Similarly, 5.4 of the Resolution addresses a mechanism when the Law Director has a conflict of interest, which is that he "submit the invoice for outside legal representation directly to County Commission for approval," however, the Law Director is not required to do so as the express language states that he "may" recuse him or herself, as opposed to "shall." As you know, recusal due to a conflict of interest is mandatory, not discretionary, and requires complete withdrawal from anv participation in situations where there is a conflict of interest. While the Law Director is demonstrably insensitive to ethical issues, we all have observed and know that his advice is not reliable when it involves anyone with whom he disagrees or has conflicts. His disqualification in such circumstances should be mandatory, and should also be at the option of anyone else involved.
As you can imagine, allowing the Law Director to inspect the invoices of counsel in a case where the Law Director may be adverse or perhaps be a witness, would be fraught with both real and perceived conflicts, should he fail to issue his approval. The issue with the ouster suit is a perfect example. The Law Director asked Commission to pay his fees, which was obviously in his best interest. However, the statute involved made it illegal for the County to pay his fees unless and until the entire proceeding is over, including any appeals. The Law Director did not disclose the law to Commission, because it was not in his best interest. He had a conflict of interest, but continued to try to advise Commission regarding payment of his fees. The problem is exacerbated when the Law Director asks to, or is asked to, review legal bills that include information about what was done by the attorneys adverse to the Law Director. Those bills often include information and tasks that the Law Director - as the subject of the lawsuit - will not like and will not agree with. That is a direct conflict of interest that cannot be avoided. Again, while the Law Director does not recognize these blatant conflicts of interest, we know enough to recognize these issues.
Another problem with the Resolution is its conflict with the Private Act regarding the duties of the Law Director. The duties of the law director are enumerated clearly in [the] private act. Specifically, S7(a) of the private act states that his duties include (Emphasis is the Mayor’s from the letter itself):
Represent and render legal advice to the county legislative body and all county officials including elected and appointed department heads, employees and duly appointed boards, commissions and committees in matters relating to their official work and duties.
However, as drafted, 5.7 of the Resolution changes the private act's mandatory charge of representation of all county officials and provides him with a discretionary function to, "approve, agree to and acknowledge such legal representation." A resolution passed by commission should uphold and not attempt to alter the Private Act, and in fact, cannot alter the Private Act. The Resolution, as drafted, conflicts with the Private Act in this regard and is, therefore, illegal.
I believe both you and me personally, and commission as a whole, desire to create a process that provides limitations, accountability and oversight for outside legal representation. As you know, there are strict procedures in place already in the Accounting Office for paying all invoices, including outside attorney fees, that ensures transparency and compliance with established laws, and I believe we can come up with a system that addresses some of the unique challenges we are now facing.
I will plan on bringing suggested revisions to the next Operations meeting and hopefully we can address any issues and create a better document.
Follow-Up: More on Clinton’s improved ISO rating
Insurance bills for homeowners in Clinton will likely decline after the city’s fire protection rating improved. The Insurance Services Office (ISO), which sets ratings for communities based on the availability of firefighting resources, recently analyzed the city’s fire protection infrastructure and lowered Clinton’s classification to 02/2X from the previous classification of 4. City officials say that the fire department’s budget has grown in recent years, and a reopened and newly-staffed headquarters downtown helped improve the rating. That new fire station at City hall made response time for much of the city only about four or five minutes. Most of the city’s residents live within five miles of a fire station and within 1,000 feet of a hydrant, according to a Clinton news release, and hold the ISO rating of 2. The “2x” classification applies to the smaller number of homes and structures more than 1,000 feet from a fire hydrant, the release said. The improvement could lower homeowner’s insurance premiums by around an eight percent.
ORT: Man faces slew of charges in alleged rape
(Oak Ridge Today) According to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, an East Tennessee man is facing numerous charges after he allegedly raped his ex-girlfriend at her Claxton home, shoved her backward through a sheetrock wall, pointed a pistol at her and himself, and threatened to burn down her house. 34-year-old Robert John Davis is also accused of using the victim’s debit card without permission to withdraw $200, throwing objects and ransacking her house, and telling her she had to have sex with him if she wanted to get her car keys. Davis is facing charges of rape, aggravated assault, domestic assault, false imprisonment, property theft, unauthorized use of an auto/joyriding, and violation of an order of protection, the warrants said. Davis is in custody at the Anderson County Jail on bonds totaling $237,500. The victim said Davis came to her home on Friday, December 19, and stayed until Monday, December 22. She told an Anderson County Sheriff’s Deputy that she had tried to break up with Davis several times, but he has threatened her. The victim said Davis wanted to have sex the weekend of December 19-22, but she didn’t want to and she was able to convince him to stop several times. On Monday morning, however, Davis allegedly told the victim she would “have to have sex if she wanted the keys,” the warrants said. The victim said she would not be able to get the car keys to leave and get help if she did not consent to sex. The victim said Davis had threatened to kill himself after pointing a pistol at her and himself and that he later poured gas on her porch and threatened to burn down her home. For more, visit www.OakRidgeToday.com.
Clinton ISO rating improves
(City of Clinton) The City of Clinton and the Clinton Fire Department recently received notification from the Insurance Services Office, Inc. (ISO) of the completion of a recent analysis of the structural fire suppression delivery system for the City of Clinton. The results of this analysis have provided a new Community Classification of 02/2X, lowered from the previous Community Classification of 4. According to a release from the city, this lower Community Classification means that homeowners in the City of Clinton should see a reduction in their homeowner’s insurance premiums during future renewal periods. The “2” classification applies to the majority of the city residents that are within 5 miles of a Fire Station and within 1,000’ of a Fire Hydrant; while the “2x” classification applies to the few residences and structures that are outside the 1,000’ distance from a Fire Hydrant. In the release City Manager Roger Houck and Fire Chief Archie Brummitt expressed their appreciation to the Mayor and City Council for their support of the CFD’s budgetary needs to support the Fire Department’s mission, and allowing the city to make the much needed improvements that have resulted in the lowered Community Classification. They would also like to thank the members of the Fire Department for their performance in continuously providing a professional service to our citizens and the community.
Congressional delegation seeks TennCare waiver extension
(AP) Members of Tennessee’s congressional delegation are requesting an extension of federal funds to help hospitals care for tens of thousands of low-income patients.
The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports that all states participate in the funding program, known as the “disproportionate share hospital” fund. But because of the wording of a 1994 waiver that created the TennCare program, Tennessee is now the only state that requires a year-by-year renewal of a program that hospitals say is crucial to their bottom line. Nine Tennessee lawmakers are appealing to federal officials for the funding extension. The letter was signed by U.S. senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, along with U.S. representatives Diane Black, Marsha Blackburn, Steve Cohen, Jim Cooper, John Duncan Jr., Chuck Fleischmann, and Phil Roe. They say the extension is needed “to prevent any lapse in funding” that would threaten hospitals while they seek “a permanent solution in the next Congress.” Their request came in a recent letter to Marilyn Tavenner, administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
The text of the letter follows:
(Courtesy Oak Ridge Today) Dear Administrator Tavenner:
We write to request that you extend TennCare’s waiver approval from earlier this year to include continuing funds for the Essential Hospital Access payments to extend current funding levels for the remainder of the underlying TennCare waiver in the absence of Tennessee Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (DSH) program funding. We are deeply committed to restoring Tennessee’s DSH funding, as our state is the only in the nation without permanent access to these dollars.
The Medicaid DSH program is vital to Tennesseans who rely on our state’s hospitals for health care. Tennessee hospitals are an integral part of their communities, providing $950 million in charity care and $720 million in unreimbursed costs in 2013. Unlike hospitals in every other state, Tennessee hospitals are unable to offset these expenses with the help of the Medicaid DSH program.
To resolve the matter, TennCare has requested your assistance in securing funding through the waiver amendment. Our hospitals have operated with temporary funding from Congress, and the most recent patch expired on September 30, 2013. Despite the looming financial uncertainty, our hospitals have continued to provide quality care for our state’s most vulnerable populations.
As Members of Congress, we have worked together as a bipartisan delegation with the Senate Finance Committee, the House Ways and Means Committee, the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and most recently, the Senate and House Appropriations Committees, to secure support for Tennessee hospitals reliant on this program which is evident by the six partial patches included in six laws.
The Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, which was passed by Congress and signed into law by the President on December 16, 2014, includes language that strongly urges the continuation of the waiver amendment for a longer period of time in order to allow for Congress to adopt a permanent solution for our state. To that end, we are committed to advancing a permanent solution in the next Congress and have worked collectively to insert language in the House Ways and Means Hospital Improvements for Payment Act of 2014.
We request the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to act immediately on TennCare’s waiver to prevent any lapse in funding which would threaten our health care providers. As previously communicated, this waiver request and the EAH payment provision are imperative to preserving access to health care in our state.
We are committed to resolving this issue and remain available to work with you on the solution. We look forward to your response on this important matter.
New AC Chamber Board officers
The Anderson County Chamber of Commerce has elected new board officers for 2015. Stephen Harris has been named chairman of the board, Rob Followell has been elected chair-elect, and Amy Allen has been elected treasurer for Anderson County Chamber of Commerce. Steve Heatherly has been named member-at-large.
Stephen Harris, engineering manager at Powell-Clinch Utility District, where he has worked for 14 years, is responsible for the daily operation of the Engineering, IT, and Building Maintenance Departments. Stephen is a graduate of Leadership Anderson County and has served as co-chair of the Chamber’s Government and Community Relations Council.
Rob Followell, chief executive officer of Tennova Healthcare’s North Knoxville Medical Center, is also a graduate of Leadership Anderson County, former Leadership Anderson County board member, and a member of the Government and Community Relations Council.
Amy Allen is the office manager and paraplanner for Keeton and Associates, a financial advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services Inc. She is a Leadership Anderson County graduate and former Leadership Anderson County board member and co-chair of the Chamber Operations Council.
Steve Heatherly is on the board of directors at Merit Construction Inc. and serves as the company’s senior vice president. Steve is a graduate of Leadership Anderson County and serves as co-chair of the Chamber’s Government and Community Relations Council.
Accident kills OR man
An Oak Ridge man died in an apparent mountain biking accident at Haw Ridge on Saturday. Two hikers found the body of 38-year-old Michael Biegalski near a hiking trail at Haw Ridge at about 4:34 p.m. Saturday. The hikers called 911 and met Oak Ridge police officers at a trailhead and they guided officers to the body about 10 minutes hike into the park. The officers confirmed that Biegalski was deceased, and they called the coroner and criminal investigations division to process the area around the accident. Biegalski’s body was taken to the University of Tennessee forensics center in Knoxville for an autopsy, which should determine the cause of his death. Investigators say Biegalski had been at Haw Ridge by himself Saturday.
1st Rocky Top Bluegrass Festival tix on sale now
The City of Rocky Top, Tennessee presents the Rocky Top Bluegrass Festival 2015, featuring 2 days/nights Friday, April 24th and Saturday, April 25th at the George Templin Memorial Athletic Field, located at 214 Main Street in Rocky Top. Friday, see Flat Lonesome, Blue Highway and Junior Sisk & Rambler’s Choice. Saturday’s lineup includes Flat Lonesome, Blue Moon Rising, Steve Gulley & New Pinnacle, The Box Cars, Lonesome River Band, and Bobby Osborne & Rocky Top Express. Tickets are on sale now at Rocky Top City Hall, Marks Pharmacy in Rocky Top, at WYSH Radio or buy them on line right now at www.RockyTopBluegrassFestival.com
Fed grand jury indicts ex-security officer
A federal grand jury in Knoxville has indicted a former security officer at a federal site in Oak Ridge for allegedly stealing U.S. government property and money laundering, officials said Thursday. Sarah Parker, 52, of Dandridge, Tennessee, was indicted Tuesday, U.S. Attorney William C. Killian said in a press release. Parker was employed as an officer for security contractor Wackenhut Services Inc. at the East Tennessee Technology Park, the former K-25 site in Oak Ridge. She appeared in court on Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge C. Clifford Shirley Jr. and pleaded not guilty to the charges in the three-count indictment, Killian said. She was released pending trial, which has been set for February 17, 2015, in United States District Court in Knoxville. The indictment alleged that Parker converted $214,022.59 to personal use through checks that she possessed through her employment at ETTP, Killian said. He said the indictment also alleged that Parker illegally engaged in financial transactions with the money, including the purchase of a vehicle for $39,608.97 and payment of $74,327.12 to Bank of America. If convicted, Parker faces a term of 10 years in prison for each count. Killian said the indictment also states that Parker, upon conviction, may be required to forfeit any property that is traceable to the alleged offenses. “Members of the public are reminded that an indictment constitutes only charges and that every person is presumed innocent until their guilt has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt,” Killian said.
Campbell fugitive to face charges in SC
A former Campbell County teacher already facing armed robbery charges in Tennessee is now also facing similar charges in South Carolina. 44-year-old Lonnie Vann will face the South Carolina charges first before returning to Tennessee to face his charges here. Myrtle Beach Police arrested Vann last Friday. Myrtle Beach police say Vann robbed two people at gunpoint in a hotel. Police accuse Vann of displaying a gun, demanding the victims' wallets, and then running away. A few days later, Myrtle Beach police arrested Vann during a traffic stop. He waived extradition, which means officials can bring him back to Tennessee. However, because a South Carolina judge denied bond on the robbery charges, Vann will not be allowed to leave jail until he goes in front of a judge on February 20th. Vann had been added to the TBI’s 10 Most Wanted List last week after allegedly robbing a married couple at gunpoint and tying them up inside their Campbell County home on December 5th. He is also facing charges contained in an indictment handed down earlier this year charging him in connection with an incident that occurred on October of 2013. He is accused in that case of taking a 13-year-old girl off-campus while still a teacher at Lafollette Middle School and then trying to hug and kiss her in a church parking lot. He is also accused of tampering with the church’s security system in an attempt to hide evidence.
Students of the 9 Weeks honored at CRCS
One of the highlights of any nine-week grading period at he Clinch River Community School is the recognition of four students identified as “Students of the 9 Weeks.” Thursday was one of those recognition days and WYSH is happy to share with you some of the students who have made an impression on their teachers and other school staffers in the past nine weeks. One student from each department—elementary, middle, high school and the 21st Century program—is recognized each grading period for their contributions and/or achievements. The elementary student of the grading period is Jeff Hubbs, described as a “great example to his classmates” by his teachers. Chandler Abbott was recognized as Middle School Student of the 9 Weeks. His teachers say that Chandler “represents all that we strive to be at CRCS.” Logan farmer received recognition in the high school category and was praised by his teachers for his drive and work ethic. Amy Smith was honored in the 21st Century program for her creativity, empathy and infectious smile. Congratulations to all four students and keep up the good work.
TVA nearing end of coal ash remediation
(TVA) The Tennessee Valley Authority says it is in the final stages of a recovery project in Kingston, fulfilling a promise to restore the area around the Kingston Fossil Plant following the December 2008 coal ash spill. TVA says it reached a major milestone in early December, completing the cover for a 240-acre permanent ash retention landfill, which has been fortified with an underground earthquake-resistant wall anchored in bedrock and is covered by a flexible-membrane liner and geo-composite fabric, two feet of clay, topsoil and grass. “We all know this incident shouldn’t have happened,” said TVA President and CEO Bill Johnson, who visited the recovery site on Dec. 17. “But we have learned from it and we are fulfilling our commitment to making it right.” TVA also says it is working to restore the Emory River and its surrounding waterways. Crews are reforesting and adding vegetation, stabilizing shorelines and adding wetlands and other wildlife habitats. TVA has also opened Lakeshore Park with 32 acres of walking trails, fishing piers, a boat ramp and docks. Over the next few months, TVA says it will be doing general site-cleanup, paving the last section of walking lands and preparing land for a multi-use ball field. The project cost of about $1.1 billion remains within estimates.
In the early morning hours of Dec. 22, 2008, the north dike at TVA’s Kingston Fossil Plant collapsed, spewing an estimated 5.4 million cubic yards of ash and sludge into nearby homes and farmland. Some of the debris also made its way into the Emory River. Since then, TVA and other agencies, like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, continue working on the recovery effort.
Residential 911 fees up, business fees down in AC
(AC Emergency Communications District) The Tennessee General Assembly passed the “911 Funding Modernization and IP. Transition Act of 2014" on April 25, 2014. This new state law is effective January 1, 2015, and updates the existing model for funding 911 to account for changes in technology and consumer choice by establishing a single, uniform 911 surcharge rate across the state. The law changes the way 911 surcharges are collected and paid and affects all 911 districts in Tennessee including Anderson County. The new uniform rate accounts for advancements in technology needed to provide Tennesseans with prompt and accurate 911 services and it is intended to adequately fund local 911 services across Tennessee. Accordingly, all Anderson County residential and business lines, currently charged at 65 cents and $2.00 respectively, will be adjusted to $1.16 per month. The cellular 911 surcharge will also be adjusted from $1.00 to $1.16 per month. Under the new law all communications providers will remit 911 fees to the Tennessee Emergency Communications Board, which in turn would remit 911 funds to local 911 Districts throughout Tennessee in the amount no less than the 911 revenue received by each district in 2012. In short, all telephone providers will pay the state who will pass the revenue along to each local 911 district. This law also supports the state’s Next Generation 911 program. Next Generation 911 will provide better information and data to first responders, which allows local 911 operators quickly assess an emergency and ensure that the necessary equipment and personnel can promptly respond to the scene. The “911 Funding Modernization and IP Transition Act of 2014" will provide the resources necessary to ensure that the citizens of Tennessee receive the best 911 service available. Our highest priority is the public safety to the citizens of Anderson County. Dispatchers remain dedicated to ensure the quality of 911 service and response. The new uniform rate goes into effect January 1, 2015. Customers will likely notice a change reflecting the new rate on their January landline and cellular telephone bills.
Executive session leads to Commission fireworks
There was some drama during Monday night’s meeting of the Anderson County Commission when commissioners voted to go into executive session with County Law Director Jay Yeager to discuss the mounting number of lawsuits against the county. Executive sessions are called for when commissioners want to go behind closed doors to discuss sensitive issues, mainly of a legal nature. Monday, County Mayor Terry Frank indicated that she wanted to stay for the executive session, claiming ex oficio status as a member of the Commission. Commission Chair Robert McKamey declined her request, citing her own repeated public statements that Yeager is not “her” attorney, that he does not represent her and that she neither values nor wants his legal advice. After commissioners declined her request, she and several private citizens left the meeting room while commissioners retired to executive session. We will bring you more information as it becomes available.
Lawsuit filed against AC Circuit Court Clerk, county
A former employee of the Anderson County Circuit Court Clerk’s Office has filed an age discrimination lawsuit in Circuit Court against Court Clerk William Jones and the county. 69-year-old Helen Forrester was fired on September 10th, 2014, and according to the lawsuit filed Monday, after 24 years in the office. Forrester’s lawsuit claims that she was fired so that Jones could replace her with someone younger despite her “good if not excellent” work and job performance evaluations. The lawsuit also states that Forrester believed that she had an “expressed and/or implied contract of continuous employment [with the county], and otherwise maintained the right not to have her employment terminated without cause.” The lawsuit seeks $300,000 in compensatory damages from the county for her “injuries, including a loss of salary, future earnings, and humiliation and embarrassment” caused by the defendant and $300,000 in treble damages against Jones for “interference with [Forrester’s] employment relationship with Anderson County government” as well as court costs and a jury trial.
TDEC announces Used Oil Collection Grants
(TDEC) The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s Division of Solid and Waste Management is announcing approximately $400,600 in Used Motor Oil Collection Grants for FY 2015. “Used Motor Oil Collection Grants encourage cities and counties to establish collection centers where people can dispose of their used motor oil, which helps prevent pollution of our lakes, streams and groundwater,” said TDEC Commissioner Bob Martineau. “Communities across the state have taken advantage of this funding opportunity, and we look forward to seeing how they implement these measures to positively impact our environment.” Tennesseans who change their own motor oil generate more than one million gallons of used oil each year, which can pollute soil and water and interfere with the operation of sewer systems when not properly disposed. Used Motor Oil Collection Grants assist local governments in improving and expanding used oil infrastructure for the collection of used oil from do-it-yourselfers. Equipment purchased through the Used Motor Oil Collection Grants may include containers, used oil heaters, containment structures, shelter covers and other items. Tennessee counties, cities, solid waste authorities and counties having a metropolitan form of government are eligible for funding consideration. Locally, the town of Rocky Top received a $14,600 grant for a new oil tank, a canopy, a pad, a heater pump and absorbent while Morgan County received $15,100 for the same equipment. In the Used Oil Collection Act of 1993, the General Assembly established a mechanism to assist local communities in collecting used oil and reducing its negative effects on the environment. Tennessee’s Solid Waste Management Act requires counties to have at least one place in the county where used oil can be properly disposed. Used oil collection grants are funded by a two cent deposit on every quart of oil purchased in the state.
OR part of Manhattan Project Park
(Oak Ridge Today) Friday, the U.S. Senate passed a bill to set up a Manhattan Project National Historical Park that includes Oak Ridge. The legislation passed the U.S. House earlier in the month, and it now goes to President Barack Obama, who is expected to sign it into law. Besides Oak Ridge, the park will include Los Alamos, New Mexico, and Hanford, Washington. Those two cities were also part of the Manhattan Project. The proposal to set up the three-site park, the first to preserve and interpret the Manhattan Project, has been in the works for more than a decade and had previously stalled in the Senate after passing the House. It was included this month as a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act, which passed the Senate 89-11 on Friday. The House approved the legislation in a 300-119 vote on Thursday, December 4. Properties included in the park in Oak Ridge are at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (once known as X-10), the Y-12 National Security Complex, and K-25, which is now known as Heritage Center. The park properties were used to enrich uranium (the fissile ingredients in an atomic bomb) or were essential to producing plutonium:
More than 30 sites in the United States and Canada contributed to designing and producing components for the atomic bomb during World War II. Oak Ridge had facilities that were built to produce enriched uranium, Los Alamos had the scientific laboratory that designed and tested the bomb, and Hanford was dedicated to the production of plutonium. Besides the facilities at K-25, ORNL, and Y-12, the national park in Oak Ridge will also feature the former Guest House (later called the Alexander Inn), which was built to accommodate distinguished visitors such as General Leslie Groves, Enrico Fermi, and Ernest O. Lawrence. The legislation passed by Congress establishes the park no later than one year after enactment. During that time, the U.S. Department of Energy and Department of Interior need to enter an agreement on their roles and responsibilities. As the nation’s storyteller, the National Park Service will interpret the Manhattan Project. The Department of Energy will ensure the public access, safety, environmental remediation, and historic preservation of its Manhattan Project properties, the Atomic Heritage Foundation said. Read more at www.oakridgetoday.com.
ACDF back in compliance
Following up on a story you first heard on WYSH last week, Anderson County Sheriff Paul White officially announced Thursday that the Anderson County Detention Facility has been released from its Plan of Action by the Tennessee Corrections Institute. According to a release from the ACSD, the TCI Board of Control met December 3 and voted to remove the Plan of Action after the facility met all the necessary requirements. The Detention Facility had been placed on the Plan of Action in 2010 due to jail overcrowding and the inability to properly classify inmates as well as needed improvements and repairs to the jail facility and infrastructure. The first phase of the needed changes was the construction of a minimum security dormitory for relief of some of the overcrowding issues. This was completed in 2012. The second phase was the construction of a large scale pod with cells for maximum and medium security inmates along with medical and special needs cells. This was opened in June of 2014. This allowed needed room for both male and female inmates and the ability for mandatory classification. Other areas of the jail such as booking and medical were renovated as well to ensure the Detention Facility maintained compliance with TCI requirements. In all, $10 million was spent to add the additional beds, which have brought the Detention Facility’s total capacity to 564 inmates. Sheriff White said in the release that “The officers and staff of the Anderson County Detention Facility are to be commended for their hard work and dedication during these difficult times. Their professionalism kept the facility in operation when the overcrowding was a serious issue as well as during the construction and renovation. Thanks to the jail staff the facility maintained certification with TCI even during these periods. The release also expressed thanks to the Anderson County Commission for providing the needed funding for these projects, and to then-County Mayor Myron Iwanski for his leadership in this effort. We also wish to thank Law Director Jay Yeager for his valuable assistance in keeping Anderson County in compliance with the Plan of Action.”
AC DA: Criminal probe underway in OR death
Anderson County District Attorney General Dave Clark says that a criminal investigation is underway in the death of a man whose body was found at an apartment in Oak Ridge early Monday, but there has not been an arrest yet and no charges have been filed. Police officers responding to a call of a possible intruder at 615 West Vanderbilt Drive at about 4:40 a.m. Monday found the body of 29-year-old Thomas Steven Thrasher, Jr. in a second-floor apartment. Clark said an autopsy has been performed by the Anderson County medical examiner, adding “As a result of the circumstances, the Oak Ridge Police and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation have been conducting a criminal investigation,” Clark said. Clark said state law prevents the release of the details of the death investigation until it’s over, public help is needed to locate a suspect or person of interest, or when an arrest is made. “However, additional details will be made available upon completion of the investigation or in the event of an arrest,” Clark said. In a press release Monday, the ORPD called the death “suspicious,” and they turned the case over to Clark. The DA in turn asked the TBI to investigate, TBI Public Information Officer Susan Niland said Wednesday. Clark said Thrasher’s wife, Samantha Anne Thrasher, and two children lived with Thomas Thrasher, also known as “T.S.,” at the sprawling Rolling Hills Apartments complex in central Oak Ridge.
AC woman killed in wreck
An Anderson County woman died in a single-vehicle accident on Lake City Highway Tuesday morning. According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, 71-year-old Marianna Pearson of Clinton had been headed south in a Mazda 626 at around 9 am when she lost control of the car while negotiating a right hand curve near Pumphouse Lane. The car went off the left side of the road and struck an embankment. The cause of the crash is under investigation.
ACSD rounding up drug suspects
The Anderson County Sheriff’s Department announced this morning that 25 people were indicted on drug related charges by an Anderson County Grand Jury in November as the result of investigations by the Sheriff’s Special Operations Unit. Deputies have been out making arrests on these indictments as well as continuing investigations on related drug activity. These drug investigations were conducted over the last few months, according to the ACSD. The indictments were for manufacture, sale, delivery, or possession of illegal drugs and those indicted either sold to undercover agents or were in possession of drugs for resale. These indictments primarily include charges resulting from sale or possession for resale of prescription or legend drugs, as well as marijuana and methamphetamine related offenses. Of the 25 people indicted, eighteen were charged with prescription narcotics offenses, three were marijuana related, and four were on methamphetamine charges. Twenty-four of those indicted were adults while one was a seventeen year old juvenile. As of today, twenty of the twenty-five persons indicted have been arrested by sheriff’s deputies including one that was already in custody. Deputies are continuing to search for the five remaining offenders. In addition, a 17-year-old juvenile was charged with a marijuana-related offense. These indictments come after hard work by investigators of the Sheriff’s Special Operations Unit. The District Attorney General’s Office also spent many hours assisting investigators by preparing and presenting these cases to the Grand Jury. Many of these cases were from cooperative investigations with other law enforcement agencies. Sixteen of these investigations were with the Rocky Top Police Department and five were with the 7th Judicial District Crime Task Force. The 7th Crime Task Force is made up of officers from the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department, the Clinton Police Department, the Oak Ridge Police Department, the Oliver Springs Police Department, and the Rocky Top Police Department. The Task Force is managed through the District Attorney General’s Office and is made possible by a grant from the State of Tennessee, Office of Criminal Justice Programs.
The suspects who have been arrested include
There are continuing investigations into other related drug cases and no additional information can be released at this time.
ACSD warns of scam calls
(AC Sheriff Paul White) The Knox County Sheriff’s Office is putting out a warning about a telephone scam that is again circulating in Knox County. The caller pretends to be a sheriff's deputy or court official and says that the person has an outstanding warrant, didn’t report for jury duty, or has a failure to appear, and that it can be taken care of with a certain amount of money. He then says the money can be transferred to the caller with a Greet Dot card, prepaid credit card, or to meet and bring the "cash bond". This same scam occurred earlier in the year in our area including Anderson County. So far no new cases have been reported in Anderson County but the scam appears to target residents in all of our area counties. The Anderson County Sheriff's Department wants the public to know that the Sheriff’s Department and the Clerk’s Office do NOT make phone calls on such matters. If calls of this nature are received, THIS IS A SCAM. Many of these scams use various law enforcement or court official's real names such as the Chief Deputy or the Court Clerk. Do NOT give out personal information over the phone or forward any money. If anyone receives such a call please contact your local law enforcement agency.
CPD’s Gregory named GHSO Officer of the Year for ET
(CPD) Sgt Scott Gregory of the Clinton Police Department was recently recognized by the Governor's Highway Safety Office (GHSO) for his performance serving and protecting the citizens of Clinton. Gregory was named "East Tennessee Municipal Officer of the Year" for 2014. The special award plaque was presented December 8th during the GHSO joint network meeting in Knoxville. Lt. Larry Miller, who heads up CPD's Governor's Highway Safety Program, nominated Sgt Gregory, saying: "He is our agency's DUI Instructor and he is the lead investigator on our Traffic Accident Fatality Team. He serves with his heart to protect the roadways of Clinton in all areas of traffic enforcement. During this year he had 12 DUI arrests. This is an awesome accomplishment... as he keeps up with all the supervisor duties, of his assigned patrolmen, during their daily activities." The Clinton Police Department stresses the importance of having officers like Scott Gregory on the force. Chief Rick Scarbrough said: "The effort of Sgt Gregory, who has been with the department for more than fifteen years, has greatly contributed to CPD's ability to better serve and protect the citizens of Clinton."
ORT: ACSD investigating theft of tobacco products
(Oak Ridge Today) The Anderson County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the theft of over $4,000 worth of tobacco products from a gas station on Edgemoor Road early Tuesday morning. The burglary occurred at the Marathon gas station and store at 1060 Edgemoor Road just before 3:30 am Tuesday. Video footage from the store’s security system shows a white man of medium build using what appears to be a crowbar to break the glass on a front door before entering the store, according to the ACSD’s incident report. The unidentified man then went behind the counter and placed cigarettes and cans of smokeless tobacco into a bag before leaving the store. The suspect was described as wearing a gray hat and jacket, dark-colored gloves, and blue jeans. He had covered his face with a bandana. The suspect stole an estimated $3,960 worth of cigarettes and $174 worth of smokeless tobacco, and he caused about $400 in damage to the glass door, Poole said. The burglary was reported by a newspaper delivery man who noticed the broken door early Tuesday morning. The case has been turned over to the Sheriff’s Department Criminal Investigations Division.
3M announces Clinton facility
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty along with 3M Company officials announced today the company will purchase a 772,000 square foot building located on 160 acres in the Eagle Bend Industrial Park in Clinton. The announcement is the latest step in 3M’s efforts to grow its North American manufacturing operations, and represents an investment of $135 million and the creation of 100 new jobs in Anderson County. The company will manufacture products for the oil, gas, and automotive industries. The company is expected to invest $135 million and create 100 new jobs in Anderson County. 3M purchased the former Food Lion distribution center facility for roughly $14.4 million. The sale closed on Friday, said Tim Thompson, president of the Anderson County Economic Development Association.
“We want to welcome 3M to Tennessee and thank the company for its investment and the new jobs that will be created in Clinton,” Haslam said. “Here in Tennessee, we work to create a business-friendly environment that attracts new companies to the state while helping them grow and succeed, and today’s announcement brings us one step closer toward our goal of becoming the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs.”
“The Tennessee brand continues to be strengthened as companies recognize and utilize our state’s strong infrastructure, business-friendly environment and quality workforce,” Hagerty said. “3M is known around the world for its wide array of exceptional products, and I am pleased to see that the company has chosen Tennessee to expand its manufacturing operations while adding to our state’s outstanding workforce.”
With renovations slated to begin this month, 3M plans to be operational in the fourth quarter of 2015. The Clinton facility will produce a variety of products for the oil and gas and automotive industries.
“I could not be prouder or happier to have 3M Company choose Anderson County as a place to work and grow their business,” Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank said. “3M has nothing short of an incredible track record of innovation that touches just about all of our lives, and we’re thankful for their continued commitment to hard work and progress. Their decision to locate here is a testament to the commitment of our economic development team to bring jobs and investment, and help industries accomplish their goals.”
“We are honored to have the 3M Company as a part of our community. This Fortune 500 company is known worldwide for their products, innovation and growth potential,” Clinton Mayor Scott Burton said. “We would like to thank the state of Tennessee and TVA for their roles in bringing 3M to Clinton. The city of Clinton has been blessed over the past 12 months with the announcement of over $270 million in new capital investment and 1,200 jobs.”
“TVA and Clinton Utilities Board congratulate 3M on its announcement to locate in Clinton and create new quality jobs for community residents,” TVA Senior Vice President of Economic Development John Bradley said. “TVA is pleased to partner with the state of Tennessee, Anderson County EDA and the city of Clinton to help employers like 3M invest and grow in our region.”
3M will begin hiring mid-2015 and will provide more information on where people can apply at that time.
ASAP wins national recognition
(Submitted) Allies for Substance Abuse Prevention of Anderson County (ASAP) has won a GOT OUTCOMES Coalition of Excellence award by the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA). ASAP has been awarded a Milestones award for its efforts to reduce underage drinking rates in the community.
Sponsored by CADCA’s National Coalition Institute, the GOT OUTCOMES! Awards give national recognition to coalitions that make a strong case for their contribution to population-level substance outcomes by utilizing an inclusive, data-driven, and comprehensive community problem solving process. Coalitions complete a competitive and rigorous two-phase application process and are judged by a panel of experts at the federal, state and local levels. The Milestone category provides newer coalitions — or those with more recently implemented strategies — the opportunity to highlight their contributions toward achieving community-level reductions in one or more substance abuse or substance abuse-related issues.
ASAP coalition members identified that local businesses were a point of access of alcohol for adolescents, primarily due to the lack of training resources available locally to clerks. Through partnering with TopShelf Responsible Beverage Service and Beer Boards, the ASAP coalition was able to make a training program available within the county and through the Underage Drinking Task Force, worked with County Commission and City Councils to pass ordinances mandating responsible alcohol sales training. “Local businesses were key in helping identify problems and help develop solutions. Their embrace of this initiative ultimately ensured its success,” said Stephanie A. Strutner, Executive Director of ASAP of Anderson County. Strutner went on to say, “ASAP is honored to be recognized with this prestigious award. We are delighted to be the recipient of the “Milestones Award” recognizing our achievements; more importantly, we are thrilled our efforts have made strides in reducing underage drinking and related negative consequences in our community. The greatest praise is due to our partners, without whom, this award would have never been possible. From planning to implementation, they are our boots on the ground.” Strutner said a special expression of gratitude should be extended to the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, Clinton Police Department, Oliver Springs Police Department, Norris Police Department, Rocky Top Police Department, Oak Ridge Police Department, local Beer Board members, Kim Pouncey with TopShelf Responsible Beverage Service, Catherine Brunson, Underage Drinking Task Force members and local businesses. The coalition will receive their award on-stage during the Awards Luncheon at CADCA’s 2015 National Leadership Forum, held Feb. 2-5 at the Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Center just outside of Washington, D.C. To learn more about CADCA’s GOT OUTCOMES! Awards, visit: www.cadca.org/gotoutcomes.
Federal lawsuit filed over Public Works termination
On Wednesday, former Anderson County Public Works employee Lisa Crumpley filed a wrongful termination lawsuit in U.S. District Court against the county and her former boss, Public Works Director David Crowley. Crowley fired Crumpley over the phone before 6 am October 9th, hours before he himself surrendered at the Anderson County Jail on a five-count indictment accusing him of conducting building inspections without the proper certifications. The lawsuit accuses Crowley of gender bias, retaliation against a whistleblower and not paying overtime and also accuses County Mayor Terry Frank of lying to Crumpley about Crowley’s certifications, allegedly telling Crumpley that Crowley had the credentials to conduct building inspections. According to the suit, despite repeatedly failing building certification tests, Crowley told Crumpley and others that he had certification and continued to do inspections, allegedly “order[ing] Crumpley to fill out inspection reports in order to cover up his illegal activity." During an ensuing TBI investigation—which ultimately concluded with the indictments against Crowley—Crumpley was interviewed twice by agents. The lawsuit accuses Crowley of plotting to fire Crumpley "in retaliation for her refusal to participate in his illegal activities and for her participation in the state's investigation of his illegal activities," according to the court filing. As we first reported in October, Crumpley had attorney David Stuart send a letter to Mayor Frank and other officials, including County Commission Chairman Robert McKamey, the week before she was fired stating that she feared she would be retaliated against for cooperating with the TBI and requesting protection. That letter was dated October 3rd. The lawsuit also alleges Crumpley had to work unpaid overtime, including during her lunch breaks and that Crowley "is biased against females” and accuses Crowley of "openly [telling] people he wanted only men working full time in the Department of Public Works." The lawsuit also alleges that the Tennessee Public Protection Act protecting whistleblowers was violated because Crumpley refused "to participate in or remain silent about illegal activities." The lawsuit claims Crumpley suffered "emotional stress, humiliation and embarrassment" and seeks unspecified punitive damages as well as reinstatement, payment of attorneys' fees and all other relief provided under various federal laws. Crumpley has also filed an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint over her firing, alleging sex discrimination, and a copy of that complaint is included in the court filing. Since her termination, Crumpley’s personnel file has gone missing and is at the heart of Sheriff’s Department investigation, the details of which we have previously reported. A letter from Crowley’s attorney to the County Commission claims that the personnel file did not go missing from the Human Resources Department until after Crowley and her attorney—also her sister, former Anderson County Juvenile Court Judge April Meldrum—had visited the office to review both Crowley and Crumpley’s personnel files. WYSH has been told by sources that the personnel file, and other documents reported missing from Public Works, have been turned over to investigators, but that has not been confirmed by anyone in the Sheriff’s Departments.
Officials discuss Main Street OR project
(Information from Oak Ridge Today) City officials and developers discussed their plans to revitalize the former Oak Ridge Mall on Tuesday and said that so far, everything involving the long-awaited project is on pace to break ground next spring. James Downs, a partner of Crosland Southeast, the North Carolina-based company that has proposed the project, updated members of the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce during a Tuesday morning Rise and Shine sponsored by the Chamber at Courtyards Senior Living on Briarcliff Avenue. The company could break ground on the 350,000-square foot project next spring. Construction work, including demolition of the existing areas between anchor stores Belk and JC Penney, could be completed by the summer of 2016, making it available to retailers by the fall of that year. Main Street Oak Ridge, as the project will have 350,000 square feet of commercial space, including the space already occupied by those two anchors. Officials said that the project could also include eight to 12 restaurants, 150 apartment units, and a hotel featuring between 110-130 rooms. There could also be some office space, said Downs, who says developers want to revitalize the 58-acre site to “raise the tide” for other businesses and the community, adding that “we want to restore [the city’s] soul.” Officials say that around 75% of the retail space has either been leased or is in negotiation to be leased. Developers can’t disclose the identity of potential retailers or tenants, or developers who might be interested in building the apartments or hotel. According to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, Crosland Southeast is in “advanced discussions” with potential developers of the apartments and hotel. Those companies would buy the sites with infrastructure already installed, and could “go vertical” as Main Street Oak Ridge is built, Downs said. The nearby Tinseltown Theater and Walmart are not part of the project, but Crosland Southeast is working with them, and are said to be excited about the redevelopment.
As part of the project overview, officials also announced several other developments.
For much more on this story, including a look at how businesses close to Main Street Oak Ridge and those that are not so close could potentially benefit from the ambitious project, visit www.OakRidgeToday.com.
Online service ranks OR schools high in state
All seven schools in the Oak Ridge schools are ranked among the top 100 schools in Tennessee in their respective categories, according to a private, online rankings service. The rankings were compiled by a company called Niche using federal education data along with student and parent input, according to a press release. Glenwood Elementary is ranked fourth among state elementary schools, while Woodland Elementary is 29th, Linden 36th and Willow Brook is listed 82nd. There are 982 elementary schools in the state. Jefferson Middle School was ranked second in the state, while Robertsville Middle came in 14th. There are 306 middle schools in Tennessee. Oak Ridge High came in 11th in Tennessee among high schools, of which there are 318 across the state. Niche rankings only included the top 100 schools in each category. As a system, Oak Ridge came in fifth in the Best School Districts in Tennessee category out of 137 districts.
Report: Negotiations underway after huge judgment against OR firm
A New York Federal Judge ruled in July that Appalachian Underwriters Inc. (AUI) and a subsidiary have breached three reinsurance agreements and a retrocession agreement with its Bermudian reinsurer affiliate and are liable for $41.1 million. On July 28, Judge J. Paul Oetken of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York found the intermediaries—AUI and Insurance Services Group were obligated under a 2009 guarantee to pay the debts. Cayman Islands-based Greenlight Reinsurance Ltd. was the reinsurer and AUI was the managing general agent. Greenlight Re has established that AUI owes a debt of $16,986,516 under the Reinsurance Agreements, and App Re (an AUI subsidiary) owes $24,456,213 under the Retrocession Agreements. A hearing has been scheduled for December 19th in AC Chancery Court, where Chancellor Nikki Cantrell will be asked to rule on “domesticating” the case—which would enable Greenlight to begin trying to recoup what they are due. Reinsurance is defined by www.freedictionary.com as "the contract made between an insurance company and a third party to protect the insurance company from losses. The contract provides for the third party to pay for the loss sustained by the insurance company when the company makes a payment on the original contract.” In this case, AUI shared its policy risks with Greenlight in exchange for a portion of the premiums from the underlying policies.
According to www.thelawdictionary.com, “’when the assignee of heritable rights conveys his rights back to the cedent, it is called a "retrocession.’” According to the judge’s order, AUI’s debt problems stem from several higher-than-expected losses on its insurance policies. The News-Sentinel reports that negotiations are underway between the two sides.
Chancery suit filed over erroneous tax sale
The most thankful people in Anderson County this holiday week are lawyers. Daya Hospitality, which owns the Travel Lodge Hotel on Seivers Boulevard in Clinton, has filed a lawsuit against Anderson County and Law Director Jay Yeager after they say that his failure to adequately research a delinquent tax issue resulted in part of their property being sold at a delinquent tax auction. The lawsuit, filed November 20th in Chancery Court, says that when the company refinanced its land in 2007, the bank was supposed to have merged the payments with the taxes on two lots but only merged the payments of one parcel. Neither the bank nor the company realized there was a problem until April of 2013 when the company went to get its taxes lowered on the Clinton motel after a fire caused heavy damage there and was told that one of the lots had been sold at a delinquent tax sale. The lawsuit says that Yeager “acted maliciously or with reckless disregard as to the truth of his false published statements” (in dealing with the issue). The suit seeks an order voiding the new tax deed from the company that purchased the land, plus attorneys’ fees, compensatory damages and “all other relief entitled to [the plaintiffs] by law.”
ACSD arrests 5 after “unusual series of events”
Five people were arrested early Sunday morning (11/23) after deputies responded to a report of shots fired into an occupied home in the Claxton community. In what the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department calls “an unusual series of events”, dispatchers first began receiving anonymous 911 calls from a cell phone around 5:00am, reporting a shooting into a residence had occurred at 120 East Circle. However, the calls were not coming from the actual residence. According to a release from the Sheriff’s Office, some 30 calls were made over the next several minutes. Deputies responded to the East Circle home and spoke with a person on the front porch who initially gave a false name and false information about what happened. Another person was found hiding in the back yard. A third person was found inside the residence. Bullet holes were found in the front of the house. After investigation the person on the front porch was identified as 26-year-old Cody Shane Awais and the one hiding was found to be his 23-year-old brother Samir Joseph Awais. Both had outstanding warrants in Anderson, Knox, and Sevier Counties. The person in the house was identified as 24-year-old Alyssa Mansfield of Sevierville. No warrants were found and she was not arrested. All three finally admitted the house had been shot at on two separate occasions earlier in the morning. The reason for the shooting was said to be over a “dispute”. Both the Awais brothers were taken to the Anderson County Detention Facility on the active warrants. No one was injured in the shooting. Deputies then went to the address where the 911 calls were made at 360 Blacksferry Road. There they found 25-year-old Kevin Scott Garner and 20-year-old Arthur Allen Boudreau. After investigation, deputies learned Garner was the person responsible for shooting into the residence not once but twice earlier that morning. They also found Bourdeau was the one who made the many anonymous 911 calls. The two handguns used in the shooting along with a large amount of marijuana and numerous items of drug paraphernalia were found in the residence. Both Garner and Bourdeau were arrested and taken to the detention facility. Garner was charged with six counts of aggravated assault, two counts of reckless endangerment, one count of possession of marijuana and an outstanding warrant. Boudreau was charged with misusing 911 and possession of drug paraphernalia. While deputies were conducting their investigation at the Blackferry Road home, another resident arrived and began interfering into the crime scene, refused to stop disrupting the scene, and scuffled with deputies. 30-year-old David Harry Wender was also arrested and taken to the detention facility. Cody and Samir Awais, and Garner remain in the Anderson County Detention Facility. All three have prior arrests in Anderson, Knox, and Sevier Counties. Both Bourdeau and Wender have been released on bond. Neither have previous arrests in Anderson County. No one was injured in the shooting that is believed to be drug-related. The investigation into the possession for resale of marijuana is ongoing. Additional charges may be forthcoming. Deputies are not sure why Bourdeau made all the anonymous 911 calls about the shooting since he was found with Garner who was apparently the person responsible.
Update: Man arrested for allegedly robbing grandfather
UPDATE: The ACSD has made an arrest in a case we reported on earlier in the week, as Joseph Tyler Collins was arrested Tuesday at a home in Clinton on one count of aggravated robbery after he was accused of robbing his grandfather at knifepoint on Sunday night along with at least one other accomplice. Collins is being held on a $75,000 bond. Investigators are still working to identify the others involved in the robbery.
(Original story) The Anderson County Sheriff’s Department is investigating an armed robbery that occurred at a home near Rocky Top. Deputies responded to a home on Clear Branch Road shortly after 10:30 pm Wednesday on a report of a robbery in progress. When they arrived, they made contact with Genis Hawkins, who told them that he had been robbed at knifepoint by his grandson and another man. Hawkins told police that he answered a knock on his door and saw his grandson on the porch. The grandson asked if he could use Hawkins’ phone and when he stepped away to get it, his grandson and a second man wearing a green rag over his face and holding a 15-inch-long knife entered his house. The masked man held the knife to Hawkins’ stomach and threatened to “gut him” according to the incident report, while the grandson demanded money. Hawkins gave them a pair of pants containing three envelopes full of cash in various denominations totaling approximately $2600, his wallet with two debit cards inside and his cell phone. The knife-wielding suspect told Hawkins to stay inside as they left or he would be stabbed. The two then ran down the driveway, where a third person was waiting in a car, and fled the area. One of Hawkins’ relatives found one envelope containing $1400 in the driveway, where the suspects had apparently dropped it as they fled, and gave it to investigators, who then photographed the bills and returned them to Hawkins. Hawkins was not injured in the incident and the investigation is continuing.
ORT: OR city manager hires assistant
(Oak Ridge Today) Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson has hired an assistant. Bruce M. Applegate Jr. will help the city manager plan, organize, develop, coordinate, maintain, and direct the overall operations and activities of the city. He will help provide supervision for special projects and task forces, and participate in the recruitment and promotion of new and existing businesses and industries. In addition, he will assist in developing, planning, and implementing goals and objectives for the city. Applegate’s employment will become effective December 1. Applegate was raised in Knoxville and Lafayette, Indiana. He comes to the city as a recent graduate from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. He holds dual bachelor’s degrees in political science and history from Purdue University, in addition to a master’s degree in public administration and public policy from the University of Tennessee.
ORT: Gooch new Mayor of OR, Smith Vice Mayor
(Oak Ridge Today) New Oak Ridge City Council member Warren Gooch was appointed Mayor, and returning City Council member Ellen Smith was elected mayor pro tem, or Vice Mayor, on Monday night. The two were appointed to serve two-year terms by the City Council during the first meeting since the November 4 municipal election. Gooch was the top vote-getter in the November 4 municipal election, and he is the city’s 10th mayor. Two members switched votes and cast ballots for Gooch, breaking an impasse that had lasted through five rounds of voting. Smith has served on City Council before. She lost a re-election bid in November 2012, but was one of four new members elected to the Council this month. It took six rounds of voting to pick from among the four candidates for mayor on Monday. Besides Gooch, the candidates were Smith, Hope, and new Council member Rick Chinn. After Gooch was elected, it only took one round of voting to pick Smith as mayor pro tem. She was the only candidate. The mayor pro tem presides at meetings when the mayor is unavailable or absent. The City Council elects a mayor and mayor pro tem from among its own members after each municipal election every two years. Former Mayor Tom Beehan and Mayor Pro Tem Jane Miller did not seek re-election to the Council this year. City Council members serve staggered terms, meaning there were four members elected this year, and there will be three more elected in 2016. Two incumbents—David Mosby and Anne Garcia Garland—were not re-elected.
Marlow woman dies after trying to save pets from fire
An Anderson County woman has died from injuries she sustained Wednesday afternoon after running into her burning home to rescue her pets. According to the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department, 65-year-old Martha Bailey and her friend arrived at the home on Ridge Lane in the Marlow Community shortly after 3:00 Wednesday afternoon, discovered it was on fire and called 911. A few minutes later, Bailey ran inside to try to rescue her pets. During her attempt, her clothes caught on fire, and she collapsed, prompting her friend, Adra Denton, to call 911 a second time. Anderson County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Wiley Maloney, Reserve Deputy Gene Rose, and Marlow Volunteer Fire Department Captain Zach Pressnell pulled Bailey out of the burning house and covered her with a wet coat until paramedics arrived on the scene. Bailey was taken by ambulance to Methodist Medical Center then transported by Lifestar helicopter to UT Medical Center, where she passed away during the night. Firefighters were able to rescue a dog and cat from the home, but one dog did perish in the blaze. The surviving animals were taken to a local animal hospital for treatment. Denton was treated at the scene of smoke inhalation. The fire reportedly caused around $25,000 of damage, mostly confined to the living room where the blaze is believed to have begun. Officials said the cause of the fire appeared to be an accident, but they are still investigating.
OR earns EPA recognition
The city of Oak Ridge has been named a "Green Power Community of the Year" by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA made that announcement Wednesday. Oak Ridge is one of only two cities in the nation to receive the award, the other being Medford, Oregon. They are among 19 Green Power Partners and four power suppliers across the country receiving the EPA's Green Leadership Awards. According to an EPA release, the recognition is for "advancing the nation's renewable energy market and reducing greenhouse gas emissions fueling climate change.” In all, the award winners use more than 7.6 billion kilowatt-hours of green power each year. Green power is electricity generated from such renewable resources as solar, wind, geothermal, and others. Since its birth as a secret city involved in building the first atomic bomb, Oak Ridge's identity "has long been intertwined with the energy sector," according to the EPA. The release goes on to say that presently, the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory continues the city's energy tradition by conducting research related to solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, and hydropower technologies, and purchasing green power for its electricity use. Oak Ridge is recognized as a Platinum Community in the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Valley Sustainable Communities Program and has set the ambitious goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent by 2030. With city-wide attention focused on using clean energy, Oak Ridge became the Southeast's first EPA Green Power Community in 2014. Earlier this year, the city launched an effort to encourage greater participation in TVA's renewable energy program. That effort tripled the use of TVA's Green Power Switch program, where residents pay more for electricity produced from nonpolluting sources. Residents, businesses, and the local government are now using more than 73 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of renewable energy annually, including more than 126,000 kWh of on-site solar power at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
(General EPA release) Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is recognizing Oak Ridge, Tennessee as a Green Power Community of the Year. The city is one of 19 Green Power Partners and four suppliers from across the country receiving Green Leadership Awards that are given annually by the Agency. Awardees are recognized for achievements in advancing the nation’s renewable energy market and reducing greenhouse gas emissions fueling climate change.
“By using more than 7.6 billion kilowatt-hours of green power annually, these communities, businesses, and organizations are leading the way in cutting U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, reducing the impacts of climate change, and protecting public health,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “These partners demonstrate that green power is not only a smart business investment, but it’s affordable, accessible and it reduces emissions while growing the renewable energy market and spurring innovation.”
Green power is electricity that is generated from renewable sources, including solar, wind, geothermal, biogas, and low-impact hydroelectric sources. Green power does not produce fossil fuel-based greenhouse gas emissions that fuel climate change. The award winners below are being recognized for their efforts in expanding the domestic renewable energy market—from using enough green power to meet more than 100 percent of electricity needs to installing solar arrays on-site or entering long-term power purchase agreements—these organizations are demonstrating that green power is both accessible and affordable.
These award-winning partners were chosen for their exemplary use of green power from more than 1,300 partner organizations that comprise EPA’s Green Power Partnership. Utilities, renewable energy project developers, and other green power suppliers are eligible to apply for the Green Power Supplier award.
EPA, through the Green Power Partnership, works with partner organizations to use green power as a way to reduce the environmental impacts associated with conventional electricity use. The Partnership currently has more than 1,300 partner organizations voluntarily using billions of kilowatt-hours of green power annually. Partners include a wide variety of leading organizations such as Fortune 500 companies, small and medium sized businesses, local, state, and federal governments, and colleges and universities.
The 2014 Green Power Leadership Awards will be presented on December 3, 2014, at the annual Renewable Energy Markets Conference in Sacramento, Calif. More on the 2014 Green Power Leadership award winners:http://www.epa.gov/greenpower/awards/winners.htm.
(Oak Ridge-specific EPA release) Oak Ridge, Tennessee's identity has long been intertwined with the energy sector. Also known as the "Secret City" and the "Atomic City," Oak Ridge was established in 1942 as a Manhattan Project development site. While remaining a secret, the city's population ballooned from 3,000 to more than 75,000 by the end of World War II as it hosted major advances in nuclear technology. Today, the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory continues the city's energy tradition by conducting research related to solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, and hydropower technologies, and purchasing green power for its electricity use. Oak Ridge is recognized as a Platinum Community in the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Valley Sustainable Communities Program and has set the ambitious goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent by 2030. With city-wide attention focused on using clean energy, Oak Ridge became the Southeast's first EPA Green Power Community in 2014. In the spring of 2014, Oak Ridge launched a community challenge to encourage greater participation in TVA's renewable energy program, resulting in community-wide green power use of 5.5 percent, and a participation rate nearly three times the rate at the start of the challenge. Residents, businesses, and the local government are using more than 73 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of renewable energy annually, including more than 126,000 kWh of on-site solar power at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
The city also intends to leverage its role as the first Green Power Community in TVA's territory into a leadership position for promoting green power regionally. Using TVA's communication channels along with local outlets, the community's advertising plan includes the use of newsletters, radio ads, community events, mailers, door-to-door canvassing, and social media marketing campaigns.
OR company receives federal contract
An Oak Ridge-based company has been awarded a $15.9 million contract by the Department of Homeland Security and the FEMA to provide a variety of services at the Center for Domestic Preparedness in Anniston, Alabama. Under terms of the five-year contract, HME, Inc. of Oak Ridge will work in areas including maintenance; HVAC and refrigeration systems; plumbing ; elevator maintenance; and management of the vehicle fleet.. HME specializes in facilities operations and maintenance services. According to a news release, the Center for Domestic Preparedness is a national training facility that prepares state and local emergency response personnel to respond to terrorist attacks involving weapons of mass destruction. This is the second such contract for HME, which began providing facilities operations and support services for the Center in 2009.
Man sentenced over Y-12 extortion attempt
A Scott County man was sentenced to serve three months in prison on Monday after he pleaded guilty in July to charges that he tried to extort Babcock and Wilcox Y-12 LLC, the former managing and operating contractor at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge. 25-year-old Adam Winters of Oneida—who once appeared on the reality TV show “Millionaire Matchmaker”—received the sentence in U.S. District Court in Knoxville on Monday, according to U.S. Attorney William C. Killian. After he is released from prison, Winters will be on supervised probation for one year. Winters pleaded guilty in July to transmitting communications containing threats to injure the reputation of B&W Y-12 in interstate and foreign commerce, with intent to extort money and other things of value from the corporation. Winters admitted that he emailed Babcock and Wilcox and attempted to email the vice president of the United States regarding copies of slides that he possessed that contained information he believed would injure the reputation of Babcock and Wilcox. Following the email, he used the Internet and telephone and communicated his threat to injure their reputation through the use of these slides, Killian said. After making these threats, Winters met with undercover law enforcement agents to exchange the slides for $2.5 million that he had demanded from Babcock and Wilcox during his extortion attempt, the press release said. During this exchange meeting, law enforcement officers revealed their identity and arrested him.
AC Trustee Archer elected president of state organization
(Submitted) The Tennessee County Trustee's Association held their annual business meeting last week at the County Officials Conference where they voted on and named Rodney Archer as the new President of their Association. Archer has held the Anderson County Trustee position since 2006 and has been an active leader in the Trustee's Association. He previously served as the Secretary of the statewide organization and was also recognized as Outstanding Trustee for the East Tennessee division in 2010. The Association serves as not only a network but also is an essential component of Professional Development for Trustees across Tennessee. "Rodney has been a leader in our organization since he first got involved and has consistently proven himself - from raising the bar in his own office to representing our state organization in Nashville or at the national level with the National Association of County Collectors, Treasurers, and Finance Officers - he is an excellent representative for this organization," says Jay West, Executive Director of County Officials of Tennessee, "We are all delighted to have him serve as the Trustee’s Association president in 2015." The Tennessee Trustee's Association has long been Tennessee's leading organization promoting sound tax policy and advocates for tax-relief and tax-freeze programs. These programs are important to all 95 counties as their main goal is to provide our senior citizens, disabled veterans, and disabled homeowners with tax assistance. These programs are often in jeopardy during budget cuts, therefore, the Association actively lobbies for support because of the needs of their constituents. "I am excited to have been chosen for this position of being able to work with fellow administrators from across the state," said Archer. "I look forward to the new and exciting challenges of supporting the Association and working to build partnerships across the state that can ultimately benefit our constituents."
Report: OS sued over wastewater leaks
According to the News-Sentinel, the town of Oliver Springs and its wastewater treatment plant have been sued in Roane County Circuit Court for $1.9 million over sewage overflows on private property. The lawsuit was filed Monday by three people living on Bennett Road, who allege that massive leaks of sewage on to their land have ruined their property and made the 15 acre parcel impossible to sell. The suit alleges that defective pipes are to blame for routine overflows of waste and other debris and the town is liable because it was negligent in not properly maintaining the treatment plant, not properly training workers and not following established procedures in operating it. The lawsuit claims that overflows happen in dry weather because of faulty equipment and in wet weather when the pipes are overtaxed. The town is already under an order from the state to upgrade its wastewater treatment plant by the end of August 2015 or else face a $175,000 fine and has already been barred from adding any new customers to the sewer system until the deficiencies are corrected. Former City Manager Tina Treece, who abruptly resigned on November 5th, reportedly told City Council members she was leaving over frustrations with their inaction on addressing the problems, among other issues.
Gas leak prompts evacuation of OR shopping center
An Oak Ridge shopping center was evacuated Tuesday afternoon after a gas leak was reported at the former Kroger grocery store on South Illinois Avenue. The gas leak was reported at about 3:45 p.m. Tuesday by employees at Mr. K’s Used Books and CDs, and emergency crews quickly evacuated surrounding stores, including China Wok, Nixon’s Deli, Mr. K’s, and Big Kmart. They also closed off the surrounding parking lot. The staff initially thought it might be coming from Nixon’s, the deli next door. But then they learned that Nixon’s doesn’t use natural gas. A walk around the shopping center’s parking lot determined that the gas was probably coming from the former Kroger store. Mr. K’s called the Oak Ridge Utility District, which provides natural gas, and ORUD in turn called the Oak Ridge police and fire departments. When firefighters opened the door to the old Kroger their suspicions about the source of the leak were confirmed as the odor of gas permeated the air. The leak was contained and crews worked to clear the gas from the building using high pressure fans. The fire department cleared the scene around 9:15 p.m. They tested the air quality before opening the building up to the public. No injuries to customers or firefighters were reported.
Campbell fire kills one
An early morning house fire killed a Campbell County woman on Tuesday. The victim has been identified as 69-year-old Betty Miller. The fire was reported at a home on Morton Road at around 1 am and when deputies and firefighters arrived on the scene they reported that the house was fully engulfed by flames. Two people managed to get out of the house without injury but Miller was unable to get out of a back bedroom. Authorities say that witnesses said that a grease fire in the kitchen was the apparent cause of the fire as someone had reportedly been cooking just before the fire started. Miller’s body was taken to Knoxville’s Regional Forensic Center for an autopsy.
AC Mayor provides update on Public Works
Monday, Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank updated the County Commission’s Operations Committee on the status of the Public Works Department in the wake of months of controversy that seemed to come to a head last week. You can read the complete report provided by the mayor to local media outlets on our website, but Mayor Frank says that the Public Works Department is conducting inspections using certified individuals and is in the process of hiring a new, full-time building inspector. Currently, the county is “utilizing the inspection services of Wayne Williamson, who is fully certified in all required fields including mechanical” and that he is being paid by the hour. She told commissioners Monday that the five houses that are the subject of the charges against Public Works Director David Crowley are being re-inspected by an “independent and separate engineering firm.” Updating the status of an investigation into what have been described as deficiencies in the Public Works Department, Mayor Frank said that while it is still ongoing, preliminary results indicate that “it appears that a recently terminated employee—Lisa Crumpley—has left Anderson County in an awkward situation by failing to comply with a 2012 Plan of Action applicable to her work. Due to a change in administration, [Crumpley] was the only person in the office aware of the requirements of the Plan of Corrective Action (POCA) from April of 2012. She failed to apprise her supervisors of the terms of the POCA and failed to comply with the terms of the POCA that applied to her continued employment with the County. In addition, it appears that there was a period of months in early 2012 when [Crumpley] performed inspections while not certified. The Law Director, the building commissioner, and [Crumpley] were aware of the issue, but my administration was not made aware of the issue until very recent events led to a full investigation.” Mayor Frank went on to say that as of September, the State Fire Marshal’s Office says that with the inspectors that the county has on payroll or under contract, the county is in compliance with applicable statutes and that “as long as Mr. Crowley does not inspect structures, he is not required to be certified.” We will continue to follow this story for you.
(Provided my Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank) Status of Public Works Office
The following is a status report regarding events in the Public Works office:
To summarize, the Public Works Office is conducting inspections by fully certified individuals. The 5 inspections that are the subject of allegations against David Crowley are being re-inspected by an independent and separate engineering firm. The termination of the former employee for cause and discoveries of her inspection deficiencies have left Anderson County with more reviews to accomplish and decisions to make. There is a search underway for a new, full-time building inspector.
Search warrants served, computers seized
Last week, deputies from the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department served a search warrant as part of their ongoing investigation into the missing personnel file of fired building inspector Lisa Crumpley. The warrant allowed investigators to seize the computers from the county’s Human Resources Department that were the subjects of a standoff of sorts involving the County Mayor and the outgoing HR director. You can read much moiré about last week’s courthouse drama on our website. The search warrants were served on Thursday.
AC officials at odds over copying HR computer drives
Anderson County officials are at odds over the contents of the computers in the county’s Human Resources department. Earlier this week, longtime HR Director Cathy Best announced that she would be resigning to take a position in the private sector. Tuesday, County Mayor Terry Frank ordered all of the computers in the HR office quarantined and attempted to have the computers taken off-site to Knoxville and copied by technicians. Best objected to the removal of the machines from the courthouse, citing the sensitive nature of the information contained on their hard drives. The mayor says that the attorney for Lisa Crumpley, who was fired from the county’s Public Works office the same day that her boss David Crowley was indicted on charges of inspecting five houses without the proper certifications, asked her to preserve all forensic evidence on the computers, specifically as it pertains to Crumpley’s missing personnel file, which turned up missing days after her termination. Mayor Frank says Crumpley’s attorney has given notice that a lawsuit is likely pending against the county for wrongful termination, as she contends she was fired by Crowley for cooperating in the investigation that led to the charges against him. The Sheriff’s Office is probing the missing personnel file. Frank reportedly stayed at the Courthouse late Tuesday night to watch over the HR office until hiring a private security guard at her expense to maintain the vigil for the rest of that night. On Wednesday, a computer technician was in the process of copying the hard drive from one of the computers when Sheriff Paul White walked in and asked the technician if he had a search warrant. The technician left and White posted a deputy in the office for the remainder of the day, telling the News-Sentinel that he did so to “keep the peace, because people feel threatened in that office.” Mayor Frank, in an e-mail to WYSH says, “Through an attorney, I made an effort for him [Sheriff White] to watch the duplication and possess a copy of the duplication, to which he responded he was not interested.” Best says that she has no objection to the drives being copied, but asserts that they need to remain at the courthouse when they are. Frank writes, “I find the Sheriff’s refusal to let me view the surveillance video of the dates the files went missing, as well as [his] effort to stop duplication of hard drives of the two employees who are resigning in the wake of the file’s disappearance, to be extremely concerning.” The mayor is alluding to her request to the Sheriff to view the courthouse security footage from the dates when Crumpley’s personnel file is believed to have disappeared and to the also-recently-announced resignation of Best’s chief deputy in the HR office. Best says her resignation has nothing to do with the Crumpley situation. We will continue to follow this story for you. UPDATE: Thursday morning, Mayor Frank sent a letter to Human Resources Committee Chairman Rodney Archer indicating that her office will bow out of the attempts to secure the computers and will instead allow the Sheriff to assume control of the situation. Her letter is posted below.
(Mayor Frank’s letter to HR Committee Chairman Rodney Archer—sent Thursday November 6th) As you know, the HR Resolution passed by the Anderson County Commission states that day-to-day control of the Human Resource Office is the responsibility of the county mayor. As you are also aware, both Ms. Ashley and Ms. Best announced their resignations shortly after Lisa Crumpley’s personnel file disappeared from the HR Office. At the request of Robert Bowman, attorney for Ms. Lisa Crumpley, and under threat of court sanction, I sought to preserve electronic evidence in the HR office by asking the county’s IT consultants to make a forensic copy of both Ms. Ashley’s hard-drive and Ms. Best’s hard-drive. This copy would have preserved all data on the hard drives, including deleted files, and would have prevented the intentional or inadvertent destruction of evidence through continued use of the computers. As the preservation images of the hard drives could have been made overnight, this appeared to be the most cost effective and efficient way of securing evidence while allowing the ladies quickly to return to work.
The Sheriff intervened in to stop the preservation of this evidence, threatened the county’s own IT consultant with arrest, and has assumed full responsibility for securing the information. It appears that he is making the drives secure by preventing anyone from using the computers and stationing multiple deputies in the HR Office to prevent anyone from using the computers. Although a forensic image of the hard drives would have allowed the ladies to return to work, the Sheriff’s method appears adequate to preserve the evidence. I believe the ultimate goal has been achieved, that is, the fulfillment of Mr. Bowman’s request and the county’s obligation to secure the data on the hard drives.
As the Sheriff has assumed full responsibility for the security of this evidence, I see no further role for my office with respect to my issue and relinquish to the Sheriff full responsibility for the preservation of this electronic evidence.
As Chairman of the Human Resource Committee, would you please forward this information to members of your committee?
Raid leads to arrest of Rocky Top man
According to the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department, investigators with the Sheriff’s Special Operations Unit, along with officers from the Rocky Top Police Department, and the 7th Judicial District Crime Task Force, served a search warrant at a residence on Industrial Park Road in Rocky Top Tuesday afternoon. The search warrant was obtained as the result of a joint drug investigation conducted by those three agencies. According to a release from the ACSD, investigators found an indoor marijuana-growing operation with marijuana plants in various stages of development, along with indoor grow equipment such as lights as well as other drug paraphernalia. In addition, mushrooms and suspected prescription narcotics were also found. One person was arrested. 32-year-old Nathan Allen Underwood of Rocky Top was charged with the manufacture/delivery/sale or possession of a controlled substance, possession of Schedule 1 & II drugs and unlawful possession of a weapon. The ACSD says that charges are pending against two other individuals as their investigation continues. Underwood is being held in the Anderson County Jail without bond, pending arraignment.
AC municipal election results
Tuesday was Election Day in Tennessee and locally, here is a look at the results from Anderson County’s many municipal races. In Clinton, there was only one contested race and that was in City Council Ward 1, where incumbent ET Stamey garnered 1100 votes to hold off challenges from Ted Phillips (553) and Ronald Young (370). Two newcomers to the Council were unopposed: Brian Hatmaker in Ward 2 and Zach Farrar in Ward 3. Three incumbents won re-election to the city school board: Curtis Isabell and Tim Bible in Ward 2 and KK Webster in Ward 3. Clinton voters overwhelmingly approved the sale of wine in grocery stores by a margin of 1605 yesses to 772 nos. In Norris, voters also overwhelmingly supported wine in grocery stores, with 451 yes votes and 115 no votes. Norris voters also approved on-site consumption of alcohol by a 406-160 margin. All five Norris City Council incumbents were unopposed. In Oak Ridge, voters also signed off on wine in grocery stores by a margin of 5568 in favor to 1758 against. Four people were elected to the Oak Ridge City Council. Warren Gooch was the top vote-getter with 3761, with Rick Chinn 2nd with 3432, Kelly Callison 3rd with 3310 and incumbent Ellen Smith retained her seat with 2991 votes. Incumbent Bob Eby was re-elected to the Oak Ridge School Board with 3724 votes and will be joined by newcomers Laura McLean with 3133 votes and A. Paige Marshall with 2754. In Oliver Springs, incumbent Mayor Chris Hepler was unseated by Jerry Vann 389-302. In the race for Alderman in Ward 2, Jeffery Bass defeated Maurice Walker and in ward 4, Terry Craze held off Nathan Benson 391-279. The new mayor of Rocky Top will be current Vice Mayor Michael Lovely, who defeated fellow Council member Donald Douglas 161-109. Current mayor Tim Sharp was elected to serve on the Rocky Top City Council with 121 votes and will be joined by Denise Casteel, who picked up 109. For a complete look at the election results, visit www.acelect.com.
Missing AC man turns up in Georgia
Michael David Miller, reported to the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department as a missing person on October 10th, has been located in Gwinnett County, Georgia. Miller and his vehicle had been entered into NCIC as a missing person. Miller was stopped by the Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department after a "hit" on his license plate showed him as a missing person. Upon checking, Miller told deputies he was OK and just wanted to "get away" for a while. Gwinnett County deputies contacted us, confirmed he was a missing person, and said he appeared to be in no distress and was in good health. Miller was asked to contact his family and, with no reason to detain him, was released by Gwinnett County deputies.
Mayes has new gig in RT
Former Anderson County Circuit Court Clerk Tyler Mayes has been named the acting city recorder in Rocky Top. Mayes was appointed by the County Commission to serve the remainder of longtime Clerk Barry Pelizarri’s term following his retirement in 2012 but did not win the election to retain that seat in August, losing to William Jones. Mayes will succeed Chris Phillips, who served briefly as Rocky Top city recorder until returning to his former job as the Anderson County Budget and Accounts Director last month. The Rocky Top City Council will vote on whether to confirm him in the job on November 20th.
CPD chief wins another accolade
(CPD) Clinton Police Chief Rick Scarbrough has been elected to chair the Southern Region of the State Associations of Chief's of Police (SACOP). SACOP is a division of the International Association of Chief's of Police (IACP). Chief Scarbrough was elected by his peers during the IACP Conference in Orlando, Florida last weekend. The southern region consists of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. Scarbrough has served as the Tennessee representative for four years. SACOP works within IACP to develop and recommend best practices in law enforcement, to include but not be limited to legislation, safety, and policy.
Tennessee #1 for foreign direct investment
(TDEC) Tennessee was ranked the top state in the nation for foreign direct investment (FDI) job commitments in 2013 according to the recently released 2014 Global Location Trends report. The annual report from the IBM Institute for Business Value measured the number of jobs created by foreign-owned companies in each state during the 2013 calendar year. Following Tennessee in the rankings were Texas, Georgia and Ohio.
“Our number one ranking by the IBM