Local News

  • Smoot back in custody after bond revocation

    Accused murderer Shawn Smoot returned to the Roane County Jail in shackles Tuesday afternoon.

    Smoot was charged with DUI in McMinn County on April 22.

    Roane County Criminal Court Judge E. Eugene Eblen revoked his bond in the murder case a day later and issued a warrant for his arrest.

    District Attorney General Russell Johnson’s Office said Smoot was taken into custody by U.S. Marshals at the Moccasin Bend Mental Health Institute in Chattanooga around 11 a.m. Tuesday.

  • Ruppe gets promotion

    Rockwood City Council’s discussion leading up to promoting Becky Ruppe to city administrator was tame compared to what happened just before.

    Mayor James Watts referred to a social networking post that questioned the city’s recent perfect audit and called the poster “some idiot.”

    The post also accused the mayor and then-city recorder Ruppe of moving numbers about.

    Local businessman Bill Anderson, who was at the meeting, responded.

  • ‘In God We Trust’ proposal

    The words “In God We Trust” could soon be on display at the entrance of the Roane County Courthouse and in the Roane County Commission meeting room.

    A resolution calling for the words to be displayed at those locations is on the agenda for the May 12 county commission meeting.

    “It’s been something that more and more of my constituents, church members and pastors have brought to my attention,” said District 2 Commissioner Randy Ellis, who filed the resolution. “They would like to see it implemented.”

  • Suspicious death probed in East Roane

    A man was found dead from a gunshot wound Sunday afternoon, and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is assisting the Roane County Sheriff’s Office in investigating the suspicious death.

    Johnny Franklin Douglas, 73, 33475 Kingston Hwy., was found near his workshop at his home.

    “The cause of death was definitely a gunshot wound to the area of the head,” said Sheriff Jack Stockton.

    Stockton said it cannot be determined if it was self-inflicted or if someone else did it by the trajectory of the shot.

  • Rockwood adds police position

    Rockwood City Council members voted to create a new patrolman position on Monday.

    “What we are asking for is one additional,” said Chief Danny Wright. “Steven Bryant has been on extended leave for almost 10 months well, actually, since Aug. 1.

    “What we’d like to do at least at this point is put it in there until someone retires. Of course, what I would like to see is for it to become permanent,” Wright said.

  • Gallaher remains free on bond despite new charge

    Eric Gallaher can remain free on bond while his felony cases are pending in Roane County Criminal Court. Prosecutors sought to revoke his bond over a recent domestic assault charge he picked up.

    Criminal Court Judge E. Eugene Eblen denied the motion at a Tuesday hearing in Loudon County.

    “He doesn’t pose any risk of flight,” Gallaher defense attorney Donice Butler said. “He’s been to court every time.”

  • Butler claims hearing board was paid to rule against her

    Harriman attorney Donice Butler said hearing panel members who ruled in her disciplinary case were bought off by the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility.

    “I think the board is way overreaching their power,” she said. “I think the whole system is patently unconstitutional when you pay people to rule in your favor, and that’s basically what happened.”

    The Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility oversees the conduct of attorneys for the Tennessee Supreme Court.

  • Paper? Check. Pencil? Check. iPad?

    Students at more Roane County schools could be allowed to use iPads, iPhones, iPods and other like devices during the school day next school year.

    Last July, the Board of Education approved a trial program for the 2013-14 school year that allows personal communication and personal electronic devices to be used by students attending Midway High School and Cherokee Middle School.

    The board’s policy committee voted last week to recommend expanding the program to all high schools for the 2014-15 school year.

  • Rockwood ponders hiking bid minimum

    Rockwood City Council approved a change to its purchasing policy several years ago to allow city representatives to purchase anything costing  less than $5,000 without advertising for competitive bids.

    Tonight — Monday — the council will consider first reading of an ordinance that would up that minimum to $10,000.

    “My motion would be that we move the required bid amount to $10,000 — but anything $5,000 or above has to be approved by city council,” said Councilman Jason Jolly.

  • Midtown traffic lights set to go on next week

    The westbound off-ramp at Interstate 40 and Pine Ridge Road is nearly finished.

    Traffic lights, which have been in place and covered in black plastic for several weeks, will soon be lit, Tennessee Department of Transportation spokesman Mark Nagi confirmed late last week.

    “The contractor is scheduled to be on the job site Monday, May 5, 2014, to adjust the lights and turn them on for the seven-day flashing,” Nagi said.
    The schedule is weather permitting, he added.