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Local News

  • International students at home in Rockwood: Moises second Pedroza to stay with principal

    Moises Pedroza decided America would be a great place to become more fluent in English.

    The soft-spoken Colombian 16-year-old is attending Rockwood High School this year as an exchange student.

    “I chose this place because nobody speaks Spanish here,” Pedroza said. “In Colombia, English is very important for college work and jobs.”

    He’s staying with Rockwood High School Principal Alan Reed, who has hosted numerous exchange students, including Moises’ brother, Javier.

  • Could TVA disaster have been prevented?

    During his closing argument in the 2011 TVA ash spill trial, plaintiffs’ attorney Jeff Friedman told the federal judge presiding over the case that signs of impending failure were everywhere.

    Friedman wasn’t referring to the Dec. 22, 2008 disaste. He was talking about the fateful Oct. 20, 2008, inspection of the dike that would fail just more than two months later.

    That inspection was performed by TVA employees Chris Buttram, Jamey Dotson and John Albright.

  • $1 billion later: Ash cleanup likely to continue into 2015

    Five years after the ash spill, the area around TVA’s Kingston Fossil Plant still remains an active construction site.

    “I would estimate we are about 85 percent complete,” said Craig Zeller, the project manager for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which is overseeing the cleanup.

    Work is expected to continue well into next year.

    “The bulk of the ash recovery project should be completed a year from now,” Zeller said. “We may have some minor loose ends to tie up, perhaps into February 2015.”

  • Suit: Lag in report of alleged sex abuse

    A lawsuit filed against Roane County Schools alleges a Midway Middle School special-needs student was sexually abused by another student on a school bus in October 2012.

    Bus driver Steve Hunter, Midway Middle School Principal Nadine Jackson and Middle School Supervisor Tony Clower are also named as defendants.

    The alleged victim and his mother are identified in the lawsuit as John Doe and Jane Doe.

    Their attorney, Stephen S. Duggins of Chattanooga, said that’s due to the highly sensitive nature of the case.

  • City looks at fines for false alarm repeaters

    Security alarm owners with repeated false alarms may see penalties in their future.

    For now, Rockwood tabled an ordinance that would require a permit for all alarm systems and charge a fine for those with excessive false security alarms.

    It could, however, come back at a future meeting.

    “We are having a lot of problems with folks setting off alarms and the police or fire departments has to respond and there is no problem,” said Mayor James Watts. “This ordinance is to hopefully deal with those folks setting off the alarms.”

  • TDOT revisits intersection

    The busy intersection of Hwy. 70 and Pine Ridge Road was one of the problem areas Tennessee Department of Transportation staff took a look at when meeting with the public in Roane County last week.

    State Rep. Kent Calfee took the TDOT members to the intersection, which includes access to Walgreens and Pattersons Home Appliances.

    Steve Patterson, who regularly sees accidents from his storefront, also stopped by The Roane Alliance to discuss the intersection with TDOT representatives.

    They were aware of the issues, according to one TDOT official.

  • Rockwood steers clear on cold meds

    Rockwood won’t be joining the effort to regulate certain cold medicines.

    Rockwood City Attorney Greg Leffew recommended the city not pass such laws, which are aimed at making methamphetime ingredients harder to get.

    Leffew noted recent opinions by the state attorney general and Municipal Technical Advisory Service that such local laws were illegal.

    Councilwoman Peggy Evans, who has medical professionals in her family, said she believes those who want to make the drug will find a way around any restrictions.

  • GUEST OPINION: Don’t worry Santa, ‘war’ on Christmas isn’t real

    By CHARLES C. HAYNES

    First Amendment Center

    When I read that 52 percent of American adults say they believe in Santa Claus (according to a survey from Public Policy Polling), I wasn’t surprised to learn in the same poll that 42 percent also believe there is a “war on Christmas.”

    After all (spoiler alert), both are figments of the imagination.

    Belief in Santa, at least, perpetuates a spirit of joy and goodwill.

  • Ash spill tore apart community

    Having raised her children in the same house that she grew up in, Kim Harris had a connection to her homeplace that doesn’t show up in a property appraisal.

    “When my husband and I first got married, we would buy trees for Christmas and plant them, and I could tell you what year we planted what tree,” she said. “You can’t put prices on that.”

    Harris said TVA wasn’t concerned with sentimental value when she and her husband negotiated with the agency to buy their Swan Pond Circle Road home following the ash spill.

  • Police say Walmart shoplifter changed clothes in aisle

    A Harriman woman decided to change clothes in the aisles at Rockwood Walmart, trashing her own clothes while police say she attempted to shopliftaround $1,100 in merchandise.

    The incident happened Tuesday around 6:30 p.m.