Look Back: A Little Something From Our Files for the Week of May 22

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By Cheryl Duncan, Assistant Editor

25 Years Ago
Cuyler Dunbar, founding president of Roane State Community College, announced through tears that he was leaving the college after 18 years to accept the presidency of Catawba Community College in Hickory, N.C. “There’s never a good time to leave,” he said. “We will remain forever connected [to the school] in heart and spirit.” At the time of his appointment at Roane State, Dunbar was the youngest college president in Tennessee.

10 Years Ago
Harriman schools’ final days as part of a separate school district — Harriman City Schools — drew to a close with the waning days of the school year. Roane County Commission accepted the schools’ transfer into the Roane County Schools system, with subsequent votes to follow from Harriman City Council and Harriman Board of Education, the latter of which would disband afterward. “The Harriman City School system can be extremely proud of the legacy it leaves behind in its commitment to the education of the children of this community for the past 113 years,” said Candace Lett, Harriman director of schools, in her address to Harriman High School’s class of 2003, the city system’s final graduating class.

Five Years Ago
Jail overcrowding was feared to be a problem before the first inmate was housed at the $10 million facility that was under construction. To help alleviate the problem, Sheriff Jack Stockton recommended using the old jail as a workhouse to handle the feared overflow.” If we were housing only 50 inmates here, that would work fine,” Stockton said. “That would keep us from having to look at something in the immediate future for overcrowding, because we don’t want to run into that same problem within the next five years or so.”

One Year Ago
A balanced city budget wasn’t enough to entice a majority of Rockwood City Council members to approve it. The problem stemmed from Mayor James Watts’ proposal to increase the city’s property tax by a third — from 75 cents to $1 per $100 valuation — to raise $800,000 for the strapped city coffers. “We’ve taxed our citizens to death,” said Vice Mayor Peggy Evans, who cast a “pass” vote on the budget’s approval. “I do not relish a 25-cent property tax increase, but if anybody can find between now and the second reading a pot of gold, that’s fine,” countered the mayor. “Rockwood has, for years, had the lowest property tax rate in Roane County, and we simply can’t operate on it.”