Local News

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET: Nixon and Mitchell are gone, but not their works

    Gentle reader, as most of you know, the old curmudgeon is an octogenarian. He has been observing the national political scene for full sixty of those years. He remembers listening to the 1944 presidential nominating conventions of both parties on the radio, when he would have been not quite nine years old, and has followed these events ever since, so he has quite a background as observer, and candidly must say that unlike many things, such as wine or cheese, they have not improved with age.

  • From the EDITOR’S Desk: Ben did his duty and died a hero

    Not every military hero dies in combat.

    Most of them complete their training, serve their tour of duty and return home to a country that might or might not welcome them back or even recognize the importance of their service.

    Some of them return to civilian lives carrying the wounds war has inflicted upon their bodies and their souls. Sometimes they return to great achievements but most often to relative anonymity. No one calls them heroes and most of us will never really understand what they did for our country.

  • Smoot sentenced to life with no parole

    More on this developing story in Friday's issue of the Roane County News.

  • UPDATE — Smoot found guilty of first-degree murder; sentencing phase resumes Thursday morning

    Shawn Smoot was found guilty of first-degree murder Wednesday afternoon for the death of Brooke Nicole Morris.

    Criminal Court Judge Jeff Wicks sent the group of seven women and five men back to the jury room to start deliberating at 12:30 p.m. Their guilty verdict was read in court a little after 4 p.m.

    Tina Gregg, the victim's mother, hugged Assistant District Attorney Generals Bob Edwards and Tiffany Smith following the verdict. Edwards and Smith handled the case for the state and gave poignant closing arguments on Wednesday.

  • Jury deciding Smoot's fate

    Shawn Smoot's fate is now in the hands of a Roane County jury.

    Criminal Court Judge Jeff Wicks sent the group of seven women and five men back to the jury room to start deliberating at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday.

    Smoot is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Brooke Nicole Morris. Her body was found at the intersection of Blair Road and Old Blair Road in Roane County on Oct. 15, 2011. She was shot three times, with the final shot coming execution-style to the back of her head.


    Candlelight vigils often happen in communities after a tragic event occurs.

    That wasn’t the case Monday at Roane State Community College.

    Community leaders, church leaders and law enforcement personnel gathered to promote unity in Roane County.

    “This is an awesome, awesome gathering tonight,” event organizer Ron Berry said.

  • Witness: Smoot ‘shaky, sweaty’

    The state rested its case Tuesday morning in the Shawn Smoot first-degree murder trial.

    Amy Denlinger was the final witness who testified for the state. She worked as an insurance producer at Smoot’s Allstate Insurance office in West Knoxville.

    Brooke Nicole Morris, the woman who Smoot is accused of killing, also worked at the office. Morris was found shot to death at the intersection of Blair Road and Old Blair Road in Roane County on Oct. 15, 2011, which was a Saturday.

  • DA looking into OS pursuit that ended in fatal crash

    The District Attorney General’s Office plans to look into last week’s fatal car crash that claimed the life of a Harriman man.

    The wreck happened Friday on Hwy. 61 around 12:30 p.m.

    According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, 37-year-old Martin J. Palenski was behind the wheel of a Ford Taurus that hit an embankment and rolled over.

    Palenski reportedly hit some power lines after being ejected from the car. He died at the scene.

    His passenger, 41-year-old Julia A. Davis, was injured.

  • Massengill’s last school board meeting to be in his district

    District 7 Roane County Board of Education Member Everett Massengill had no idea the July 14 meeting would be his last one at the Edward E. Williams Building in Kingston.

    In honor of Massengill’s many years of service, Board Chairman Darrell “Drack” Langley scheduled this month’s board meeting at Midway Elementary School, which is in Massengill’s district.

    “I didn’t even think about that,” Massengill said, about his final meeting at the Williams building.

  • Roane’s early voting turnout light

    Fewer than 5,000 people voted early for the Aug. 4 Election.

    “I hope Thursday’s turnout is better than early voting,” Roane County Administrator of Elections Charles Holiway said.

    While he’s hopeful, Holiway recognizes it’s probably unlikely based on what has happened in past elections.

    “The history so far has been basically 50 percent or more vote early,” he said.