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Local News

  • Midway Middle students build, compete with working robots

    Engines hummed faintly at the cafeteria of Midway Middle School Tuesday as a fleet of tiny vehicles prepared to pick up  “toxic” waste.

    Three teams of students in the EXCEL after-school program there were trying out robotics products they had built.

    “They are developing vehicles to handle dangerous substances,” said instructor Mike Beard, a retired chemical engineer.

    In this case, the “dangerous” products were simple plastic containers.

  • FIVE YEARS IN PRISON

    From staff reports

    Leon Houston was sentenced on Tuesday to five years in prison for threatening to kill the attorney who successfully defended him against first-degree murder charges in 2010.

    “He is truly a dangerous person,” said U.S. District Judge Danny C. Reeves when he handed down the sentence at the federal courthouse in Knoxville.

    “He has no remorse or respect for human life,” the judge continued. “He only respects his own twisted sense of justice.”

  • VA clinic set to open today

    The new Veterans Affairs Community Based Outpatient Clinic in Rockwood is scheduled to open today – Wednesday, according to a press release from the Department of Veterans Affairs Tennessee Valley Healthcare System.

    The clinic is in the old Kroger shopping center, now called the Shoppes of Walden Ridge.

    The VA said a grand opening ceremony for the new clinic is scheduled for April 16.

  • Vaulting catching on at Winding Creek

    A graceful rider bravely mounts a large horse at cantor, moving beautifully in gymnastic feats most would find difficult on solid ground.

    The fluid moves come more easily with practice, which is exactly what the young women of Volunteer Vaulting Club are doing at Winding Creek Stables on Poplar Springs Road near Kingston.

    “The first time I tried it out, I decided to come back and do a few lessons,” said Emily Ziegler of Wartburg.

    “I’ve been hooked ever since.”

  • Convicted sex offender charged with child rape

    A convicted sex offender faces new accusations.

    Christopher John Clark, 49, was indicted last month on three counts of child rape.

    Court records list Clark’s address as 304 Cade Road, Kingston. He was arrested at his home on Feb. 21.

    The grand jury indicted Clark on Feb. 18.

    The indictment said his alleged crimes occurred between Jan. 1-Oct. 16, 2013.

    Child rape is a Class A felony.

    Clark is classified as a violent sex offender on the Tennessee Sexual Offender Registry.

  • Smoot murder trial postponed

    Shawn Smoot’s first-degree murder trial scheduled for March 25 in Roane County Criminal Court has been postponed.

    Defense attorney Bob Vogel’s request for a continuance was granted on Monday.

    “We have received within the last month a significant amount of new discovery material from the state,” Vogel said. “Those materials have to be gone through.”

    Prosecutor Bill Reedy objected to the continuance.

  • No foul play suspected in man’s death

    Foul play isn’t suspected in the death of Fred Cooper, according to Roane County Sheriff Jack Stockton.

    Cooper, 76, was found unresponsive in his yard at 112 Leffew Drive south of Rockwood on Friday.

    The sheriff’s office and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation responded to the scene.

    “After reviewing the preliminary autopsy report, it looks like it’s probably natural causes,” Stockton said.

    The case remains under investigation.

  • Leon Houston sentenced to five years in prison

    Leon Houston was sentenced on Tuesday to five years in prison for threatening to kill Cleveland attorney James Logan, who successfully defended him against first-degree murder charges in 2010.

    “He is truly a dangerous person,” said U.S. District Judge Danny C. Reeves when he handed down the sentence at the federal courthouse in Knoxville.

    “He has no remorse or respect for human life,” the judge continued. “He only respects his own twisted sense of justice.”

  • Investigation underway into Friday death

    Roane County authorities were looking into the death of a 76-year-old man on Friday. Fred Cooper was found unresponsive in his yard at 112 Leffew Drive south of Rockwood. “Hard to tell anything right now,” Sheriff Jack Stockton said about the investigation, which was being handled at press time by Sheriff’s Detective Greg Scalf and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

  • Cellphone policy saves county money

    One of the first policies Roane County Executive Ron Woody put in place dealt with employee cellphones.

    The situation deserved attention because before he took office, employees under the county executive’s supervision were incurring monthly bills as high as $660.25 that the taxpayers were paying for.

    “They didn’t have the right controls in place,” Woody said. “It is sad that went on for quite some time.”