Local News

  • Schools may want 8-cent tax hike

    The Roane County Board of Education will be asking for another property tax rate increase this year, according to early indications.

    “Last year, we asked for 14-cent tax increase,” school system business manager Eric Harbin said. “What we want to do this next year is ask for 8 cents.”

    The county’s current property tax rate is $2.18 per $100 valuation. Harbin said an 8-cent increase would generate about $904,000 for the school system.

    The school board didn’t get the 14-cent increase it asked for last year.

  • Racism lawsuit tossed

    Corey Hedrick, a Knoxville man who claimed he was subjected to racial and sexual harassment while working at the Kingston Fossil Plant, lost his legal fight against TVA.

    Chief U.S. District Judge Thomas Varlan dismissed Hedrick’s federal lawsuit last month. TVA filed a motion in January requesting the dismissal.

    “It’s sad that it got dismissed,” Hedrick said last week. “It was one of those loopholes they got me in.”

  • Plant closure ‘a bad rumor’

    Horsehead Corp. had been temporarily idling operations at its Rockwood facility earlier this month — but the move was by no means permanent, one company official said.

    “That’s a bad rumor,” said Ali Alavi late last week. “We are in the process of getting it started back up.”

    He added, “During the course of the winter with the bad weather, that impacted steel company operations to the point they were not generating the material we process at the plant.”

  • No bid? Not a problem

    Rockwood City Council easily passed an ordinance on first reading to change its purchasing policy.

    The policy change raises the $5,000 spending cap on goods and services.

    If it is passes on second and final reading, goods and services costing $9,999 or less will not require a bid process.

    “I think it just gives us a better business plan,” said Councilman Pete Wright.

    Officials said the cost of soliciting bids was reason for getting away from it.

  • Ratchet’s lease OK’d at Rockwood Golf Course

    A new lease means Ratchet’s Bar and Grill operator Sharon Rector Miller now pays an additional $100 a month.

    Originally Miller paid $800 a month for her use of the facility at the Rockwood Golf Course.

    Some city officials view Ratchet’s as an asset and the lease as a necessity.

    “Our golf course would be in trouble if they weren’t out there,” said Councilman Jason Jolly.

    Councilman Pete Wright, who said he used to be heavily involved with the golf course, agreed.

  • Attempted murder suspect nabbed in Roane

    An Anderson County attempted murder suspect was arrested in Roane County on May 11.

    According to a Roane County Sheriff’s Office report, Deputy Tyrel Lorenz made contact with 19-year-old Dakota Rogers on Highland Drive.

    “He appeared to be very nervous and was breathing very hard,” the report said.

    A warrants check revealed that Rogers was wanted out of Anderson County for attempted second-degree murder and aggravated assault.

    Rogers had a Knoxville address.

  • Oily Kingston student prank goes awry

    Teachers at Roane County High School found a dangerously slippery situation when they walked in the door Thursday morning.

    The halls, doors — even the stairs — of the Kingston school appeared to have been smeared with baby oil

    School officials believe the instance was a student prank.

    Principal Lance Duff and other school officials, however, weren’t laughing.

    “Someone could have been injured very easily,” Duff said.

    “I nearly fell down several times just to see what has been done.”

  • Park a premier place to go play

    Harriman’s Cornstalk Heights Historical Community Organization recently made Killiffer Park a little more child friendly.

    In the last few weeks, new swing sets, including two swings for tiny tykes, have been installed, thanks to the donations of the club. The Harriman Street and Recreation Department installed them.

    “Drack (Langley) and we all worked very hard together to get these up here,” said Ed D’Alessandro.

  • K-31 demolition prep continues cleanup work

    Workers have begun removing transite paneling from the outside of the K-31 Building at East Tennessee Technology Park).

    The 1.49-million-foot former gaseous diffusion building was once used to produce enriched uranium for defense and commercial purposes.

    It was permanently shut down in 1987.

    URS/CH2M Oak Ridge LLC, also known as UCOR, is prepar-

    ing the building for demolition for later this year.

    Approximately 10,000 transite panels are expected to be removed over the next several months.

  • McFarland-Pemberton judge-race feud expands

    Circuit court judge candidate Mike Pemberton and his supporters suspect Willis Hall didn’t act on his own when he filed a complaint with the Roane County Election Commission.

    “The issue is as clear as a bell,” Kingston attorney and Pemberton supporter Pat Cooley said. “This was generated by Tommy McFarland from the beginning.”

    Pemberton and McFarland are running to replace Russell Simmons as 9th Judicial District Circuit Court judge.

    Simmons is retiring.