Local News

  • Rockwood police chief to step down

    Rockwood Police Chief Danny Wright has announced he will not ask for an extension to his employment contract, effective Jan. 31.

    The contract expires on that date, and Wright confirmed Wednesday that he is leaving the post “strictly for economic reasons.”

    Wright, 62, said according to the state retirement system for law-enforcement employees, he either needs to retire, or require higher compensation to make his stay personally economical.

  • Judge reports phone stolen

    Circuit Court Judge Mike Pemberton has relied on landline phones to make calls this week.

    His reversion to that old-school form of communication is not due to a feeling of nostalgia, however.

    “My cellphone was stolen on Sunday,” he said.

    Pemberton said the theft occurred at the Rocky Top Market in Rockwood.

    “He did a report on it,” Rockwood Police Chief Danny Wright said. “We have a suspect we’re still trying to locate.”

  • Cyclist in Training
  • Ex-Rockwood mortician to plead to having child porn

    A former Rockwood funeral director has agreed to enter a guilty plea on one count of knowingly possessing material containing child pornography involving a prepubescent minor.

    Thomas Allan Scarbrough was first federally indicted on Oct. 12, 2015, on one count of distribution of child pornography.

    A second charge of possession of child pornography was added Oct. 20, 2015.

    Scarbrough was arrested in 2015 as part of a nationwide FBI sting involving a child pornography website called Playpen, where Scarbrough had the username “teddybear555.”

  • Environmentalists worry about coal ash contaminants

    Coal ash ponds at TVA’s Kingston and Bull Run Fossil Plants are leaking contaminants into the groundwater and pose a risk to the community, according to a recent presentation by the Southern Environmental Law Center.

    Coal ash contains arsenic, mercury, lead, selenium and other toxic pollutants, according to Amanda Garcia, an energy attorney with the Center who spoke before an audience of about two dozen at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville last week.

  • Harriman man accused of leading police on pursuit

    Justin Barton, a 30-year-old Harriman man, is accused of fleeing from Harriman police earlier this month.

    According to the warrant, he was a suspect in a domestic incident that occurred at a residence on Bennett Circle on Jan. 10.

    His wife, Victoria Barton, reportedly told police that they got into an argument over his alleged cheating.

    “During the argument, she went to leave in her car at which time she was backing out of the driveway when her husband threw a large rock and busted out the back window of her car,” the warrant said.

  • More woes for vehicular homicide suspect

    The woman charged with killing a Harriman father in a Valentine’s Day car crash is in more trouble. A warrant was taken out on Robin Waynette Ledbetter in November for violating probation. Roane County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Kyle Canup arrested her on that charge earlier this month.

    According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Ledbetter was driving a Chevy TrailBlazer that crossed the center line and struck a Toyota Tacoma on Feb. 14, 2015. The driver of the Tacoma, Harriman father Terrance Clark, was killed.

  • Harriman buying eight police SUVs

    Harriman Police Chief Derek Pacifico was successful pleading his case for eight Ford Interceptor SUVs Tuesday.

    Pacifico described an aging fleet that has led to high repair costs and vehicles in unsafe conditions.

    Police officials said one employee’s vehicle fills with smoke, while another vehicle has to be put in neutral at stop signs so it will not die.

    “Eight puts to rest all the vehicles I’m currently frightened of,” said Pacifico.

  • From the EDITOR’S Desk: Annual NAACP banquet uplifting

    Last Saturday I had the pleasure of attending the NAACP banquet as a guest of NAACP Roane County Chapter President Joe Eskridge.

    Joe promised a night of great food, fellowship and music. Those who know Joe will attest that he is rarely given to understatement, however, I have to say, he was not exaggerating.

    Following remarks by Master of Ceremonies Tearsa Smith of WATE, a prayer led by the Rev. Larry Woods and a welcome by Chapter Vice President John Hamilton, we listened carefully to the recital of the Negro National Anthem by Joyce Woods.