Local News

  • Rockwood borrows to tackle required sewage changes

    More than $1.4 million in Rural Development loans were approved last week in Rockwood, enabling Rockwood Water, Sewer and Natural Gas to acquire grants that will allow the city to complete a $2.4 million oxidation ditch project at the wastewater plant this year.

    The oxidation ditch typically replaces the sewage aeration tank and provides better sludge treatment using biological organisms. The project is required by a Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation director’s order.

  • Rayburn’s Roane roots

    Roane County’s ties to a  an icon in federal government were re-established recently.

    Last month, a historical marker was resurrected noting that Sam Rayburn, the longest-serving speaker of the House in U.S. Congress, was born and spent his first five years of life here.

    Rayburn is more commonly associated with Texas, where his family moved in 1887, but he never forgot his Roane County ties and visited regularly until he died in 1961.

    His father, William Marion Rayburn, was a Confederate soldier.

  • Meth lab seizures up in Roane despite new laws

    Roane County experienced a 100-percent increase in meth lab seizures last year.

    The total for 2012 was 24, according to statistics provided by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
    In 2011, there was 12.  

    The number of seizures also increased statewide. Last year’s total was 1,811, up from 1,689 in 2011.

    This year isn’t shaping up to be better. Several labs were discovered in Roane County last month.

  • Grill & Pub in trouble again

    Roane County Sheriff Jack Stockton is recommending revocation of the Grill & Pub’s beer permit after an employee was cited for selling alcohol to a minor.

    The citation was issued on Jan. 24. A special agent with the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission and an underage informant went into the bar, and Jennifer Lynn Sawin allegedly served the underage informant a Bud Light.

    “If I was recommending something to the board, I’d recommend that their license be revoked,” Stockton told the Roane County Beer Board last week.

  • Going off the road after 39 years

    A longtime Roane County Highway Department mechanic has decided this is his last winter to brave the cold weather.

    Joe Britton is retiring after nearly 39 years of working at the department, under at least six different road superintendents — Bob Collier, Charlie Norman, Grady Lassiter, interim Judy Bensey, Tom Hamby and current superintendent Dennis Ferguson.

    “I really didn’t like it that much, but the money was good enough to keep me here,” quipped Britton.

  • Earick resigns from seat on BOE

    Marjorie Earick has resigned from her District 5/6 seat on the Roane County Board of Education.

    She said her husband’s health was behind the decision.

    “Because of his health, I just don’t have the time to put into it,” she said.

    “It broke my heart, but I have to take care of him.”

    Earick’s colleagues said she’ll be missed.

    “She was in this for all the right reasons,” Director of Schools Gary Aytes said.

  • McCluen evasive about another run for DA

    The Office of District Attorney General for the Ninth Judicial District will be on the ballot in 2014.

    Former District Attorney General Scott McCluen was non-committal recently when asked if he’s planning to run for the office again.

    “I heard that he might,” said Kingston attorney Chris Cawood, an old adversary of McCluen. “I really don’t think he’ll do any better than he did last time.”

    McCluen was elected district attorney general in 1998. He ran for re-election in 2006, but lost to Russell Johnson.

  • Maggie’s Place OK’d for county beer permit

    The Roane County Beer Board approved a beer permit for Deborah Violet on Jan. 29.

    Her permit is for Maggie’s Place at 3015 Harriman Hwy., north of Harriman.

    According to Tennessee real estate records, the property is owned by Tony Clough.

    No one showed up at the meeting to voice approval or disapproval of the permit.

    Violet, whose address is listed as 181 Tacoma Road, Oak Ridge, was asked a few questions by board members.

  • Woody changed mind about ethics bill

    A bill that would have exempted members of the Roane County Planning Commission from filing statements of interests to the Tennessee Ethics Commission has been withdrawn in both the state House and Senate.

    Roane County Executive Ron Woody said he asked state Rep. Kent Calfee and state Sen. Ken Yager to introduce the bill in their respective chambers.

    “And I asked them to pull it,” Woody said.

    The bill was withdrawn in the House and Senate last week.

  • Fleischmann predicts big payoff for state in Y-12 uranium facility

    A lot of people were thankful when Volkswagen decided to build a production plant in Chattanooga.

    “Not only will Chattanooga be forever changed, but our entire state will reap great benefits from the new suppliers that this facility will attract,” U.S. Sen. Bob Corker said in 2008.

    Imagine the equivalent of nine Volkswagen plants coming to this area.

    U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann  said that’s what will happen because of the Uranium Processing Facility at Y-12.