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Look Back: A Little Something From Our Files From the Week of July 31

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By Cheryl Duncan, Assistant Editor

25 Years Ago
World War I veteran Jesse P. Ross of Harriman was honored by the French government “in tribute for services rendered to Franc during the War of 1914-1918.” Ross, 91, was accompanied by members of his family and a number of area veterans during a ceremony at Roane County Courthouse. The self-proclaimed “rookie” at Camp Forest, Ga., said he “saw a lot of thing the ordinary soldier didn’t see.” He and his company built the grandstand for Pershing Stadium in Paris, and he recalled visiting the home of author Victor Hugo at a time when it was not open to the public.

10 Years Ago
Rockwood City Council voted unanimously to appoint police veteran Bill Stinnett as the city’s new chief of police. Stinnett, who had been acting chief since March 2003, began his career at Rockwood as a patrolman in 1985. He was promoted to investigator in 2000.

Five Years Ago
After two days of deliberations, a mistrial was declared in the Leon Houston murder trial. The six-men, six-women jury “just couldn’t come together with a full, 100-percent verdict,” one juror said. “We tried and tried and tried ... just couldn’t make it.” Houston and his younger brother, Rocky, were accused of gunning down Roane County Sheriff’s Deputy Bill Jones and his ridealong partner, former lawman Mike Brown, in front of Leon Houston’s house in 2006. The juror said the burden of proof, not sympathy for Houston, led to the jurors’ decision. “To be honest, I don’t think the state made their case,” he said.

One Year Ago
Conducting early voting in the Roane County Courthouse can give the perception of an unfair advantage to county officeholders seeking re-election, District Attorney General Russell Johnson opined in a letter to the Election Commission. “I think the solution is to move the early voting out of the courthouse,” the DA said. “That will address any further issues with elected officials being present in the courthouse while they are also candidates for re-election.” State law also dictates that no law-enforcement officer may be closer than 10 feet of the polling place, an issue complicated by courthouse security. Administrator of Elections Charles Holiway said he thinks voters will be more comfortable in another early voting locale because of security and lack of courthouse parking. However, another state law mandates that voters go to the Election Commission to cast early ballots. In Roane County, that’s in the courthouse.