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Local News

  • County executive hopefuls to take part in forum

    Roane County Republican Women will continue its series of forums this week when the group hears from candidates for county executive.

    Incumbent Ron Woody and challenger Mike Farmer will participate in the forum, which begins at 7 p.m. June 26 in Michael Dunn Center at 629 Gallaher Road, Kingston.

    Candidates for public defender and Roane County Commission Districts 4, 5, 6 and 7 will also take part in the forum.

    The moderator will introduce those involved in the forum, explain the ground rules and introduce the candidates.

  • Renaissance fair aims for 2015 opening

    Clashing swords and the clink of armor are familiar sounds for Lars and Barrie Paulson.

    From 1984 to 1993, Lars Paulson went to school at the Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, Fla. He has been a designer and manager for festivals including, Ringling Museum Medieval Fairs, Kansas City Renaissance Festivals and Minnesota Renaissance Festivals.

    “His whole life has been in creative arts,” said wife and business partner Barrie Paulson, who once toured as a performer for the festivals.

  • County workers poised for pay raise

    Roane County has yet to complete the budget process for the 2014-15 fiscal year, but employees and property owners might find something pleasing about where the budget stands right now.

    It calls for a 3-percent raise for county employees — and no increase in the property tax rate.

    “The employees have served us well over the last few years without raises,” Roane County Executive Ron Woody said.

  • Candidates for sheriff open up at 2nd debate

    Last week’s debate between Roane County Sheriff Jack Stockton and challenger Jared Hall was more lively than the one they had in April.

    The pair tackled some of the same topics, but there was more back-and-forth discussion this time.

    “Whether we use the DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program or something like it, I will offer it back to Roane County Schools,” Hall said.

    “I feel, based on my past experience working with the school system right here in Roane County, that they will be more than eager to accept it.”

  • Kamp aims to ease kindergarten transition

    Laughing and learning are normal occurrences at Kingston Elementary during the school year.

    But what’s commonplace in the school’s classrooms during the summer?

    The same thing — at least during Kinder Kamp for incoming kindergartners.

    “It is a huge help for them to come and get familiar with it all,” said Kingston Elementary kindergarten teacher Jennifer Raymer.

    “It helps with the transition so much.”

  • Softball team’s Pink Out game cites Narramore

    Pink clothing is not unusual on the field at many children’s softball games.

    But at a game last week at Midway, the preponderance of pink had special impact.

    When Midway 8-and-under hosted a Pink Out game against Kingston last Monday, it was in honor of April Narramore.

    The longtime South of the River resident was diagnosed with breast cancer in April.

    “The ‘C’ word is always devastating,” Narramore said, “but I haven’t been alone through any of it.”

  • Sewer issue may be resolved

    Kingston officials hope they’re on the verge of settling a longstanding issue with the wastewater treatment expansion and putting the long-delayed project on a fast track to completion.

    City Council members learned this month of the latest meetings between city officials and the contractor for the wastewater plant expansion.

    A subcontractor hired by the chief contractor damaged an oxidation ditch a couple of years back, causing delays and, potentially, cost overruns.

    The project required an initial $262,000 in engineering and related costs.

  • OS homecoming queen goes from tiara to combat boots

    Morgan Gail Wright proves she can be sugar, spice and everything nice and still whoop some butt.

    The 2013 Oliver Springs High School homecoming queen is no stranger to the sweat and physical challenge of boot camp. In fact, she welcomes it.

    She went through the grueling Freedom Alliance Military Leadership Academy last summer.

    “That was probably the two hardest weeks of my life so far,” said Wright.

    Wright said it is similar to ­— but more intense — than the Civil Air Patrol summer program she went through.

  • Zoning vote shocks residential community

    The head of Kingston’s Planning Commission admitted that a proposed development before the body had no shortage of problems.

    That didn’t stop the commission Tuesday from approving a zoning change of 47 wooded acres from residential to commercial at a meeting packed with opponents.

    The development has been proposed to move the Jerry Duncan Ford dealership from Hwy. 27 in Harriman to a more visible site near Interstate 40, according to Steve Kirkham, who owns the site with Duncan.

  • Public defender dies

    The Ninth Judicial District’s first public defender died Wednesday after taking a dramatic turn for the worst with a serious infection.

    Joe Walker, who was appointed Roane County’s first public defender almost 25 years ago, had the position ever since, including after a 1991 accident which left both him and his son Andrew without use of their limbs.

    “He had an unwavering commitment to the public and to us, really,” said Assistant Public Defender Walter Johnson, who worked for Walker since 1992.