Local News

  • Smoky haze wafts into Roane

    No wildfires have been reported in Roane County as of Tuesday, but that doesn’t mean residents aren’t feeling the effects of those burning throughout the region.

    Firefighters are battling blazes in neighboring counties in harsh drought conditions.

    “We do have a 400-acre fire in Morgan County,” confirmed Nathan Waters, a spokesman for the Tennessee Division of Forestry’s district office in Knoxville. “We have a couple of big ones in Cumberland County.”

  • Smoke from Shenandoah blaze seen in Harriman

    A single-story home on Shenandoah Drive near Rockwood was destroyed by fire Monday afternoon.

    West Roane County Volunteer Fire Department Battalion Chief John McNeely said the home was completely involved when firefighters arrived.

    “It’s totally destroyed,” he said.

    The fire was reported around 4:45 p.m. Crews spent hours at the scene.

    McNeely said as far as they know, no one was home when the fire started.

  • Ex-political rival among donors to Calfee campaign

    Former 32nd District state Rep. Julia Hurley provided some financial help to her ex-rival.

    According to campaign finance records, state Rep. Kent Calfee received a $250 contribution from Hurley on Oct. 14.

    Hurley defeated Democrat Dennis Ferguson for the House District 32 seat in the November 2010 election. She sought re-election in 2012, but lost to Calfee in the Republican Primary.

    Hurley now works as a real-estate agent for Keller Williams Realty.

  • Whitestone Inn owner Cowell mourned

    Paul Cowell, a pastor turned entrepreneur and innkeeper, passed away Sunday following a life of service to his church and his community.

    “Many people in Roane County may not realize that Paul was a transformative leader for our county,” said Wade Creswell, president and CEO of The Roane Alliance.

    Cowell was known for starting the Whitestone Country Inn on Watts Bar Lake with his wife Jean in 1997.

  • Service for student killed slated for Thursday night

    Funeral arrangements have been set for Jacob Patterson, the 12-year-old Oliver Springs Middle School student who was killed after getting off a school bus on Nov. 4.

    The family will receive friends on Thursday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Premier Sharp Funeral Home at 209 Roane St., Oliver Springs. The funeral will follow in the chapel. Burial and graveside services are set for Friday at 2 p.m. at Oak Ridge Memorial Park.

    Citizens First Bank of Oliver Springs is accepting memorial donations.

  • Nam Jam honors Vietnam vets, helps with memorials

    Vietnam veterans will gather together for a good time and a chance to meet with other veterans from that period at Nam Jam.

    The event, to honor Vietnam vets, will be at Harriman American Legion Post 53 from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 26, and it will feature a meal and performance by the Grand Prees.

    “They are going to play our music, the ’60s and ’70s,” said Gary Todd, a Vietnam veteran.

  • Oakdale woman now facing first-degree murder charge

    By Joe King


    The voluntary manslaughter charge against Tonya Baughman in the killing of Ellis Hamby at their Oakdale home has been upgraded to first-degree murder.

    The upgrade in the charge came following the result of additional information gained in the investigation, according the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

    In addition to first-degree murder, Baughman is also charged with tampering/fabricating evidence, although authorities have not given details on the additional charge.

  • Security cameras at vets memorials

    Culprits causing damage to the veterans memorials at David Webb Riverfront Park will now be caught on camera.

    “If they are down there doing something we are going to catch them,” said Cliff Cole, adjutant at American Legion Post 53. “At least we are going to get their photograph.”

    Post 53 has been heavily involved with fundraising for the monuments at the park, and its members feel passionate about protecting them.

  • From the EDITOR’S Desk: Now it’s time for us to work together

    I’m writing this Monday afternoon as perhaps the most contentious presidential elections in recent history is winding down.

    By the time you read this the election will be decided, hopefully, and a new chapter will open in the long and admirable tradition of democracy in our country.

    I can only hope whichever candidate received the most electoral votes has accepted the honor in a gracious and dignified manner that shows respect for everyone who voted.

  • GLIMPSES: May we follow example of Banker, Skinner


    As I write these words, Election 2016 is barely 48 hours away. When you read this column, that painful ordeal will (thankfully! hopefully?) be over.

    In the interim, I reflect on two exceptional men – with hope that their good lives may help calm our present anxieties.