Local News

  • It’s beginning to look a lot like ...

    It may not yet be Thanksgiving, but Greg Leach of Kingston Public Works spent last week affixing city Christmas decorations to utility poles to dress up city sidewalks holiday style.

    Leach’s counterparts in Harriman and Rockwood completed similar tasks along their thoroughfares to give the cities a feeling of Christmas.

    Though consumers are frequently heard to bemoan the jumpstart of decorations and advertisements before cooking their Thanksgiving bird, the cities seem to have joined in the early celebrations.

  • Family keeps centenarian young

    One hundred years passes by quickly when life is as rich and full as that of Gladys Gambill.

    Gambill, who turned 100 late last month, has seen a lot in all her years. She’s lived a fun-filled family life, making it through the Great Depression, floods and seeing firsthand the results of civil unrest.

    “She turned 100 on the 30th of October. She can tell you some stories. She was the baby of six and the last one living,” said Gambill’s daughter Gale Russell.

  • Morgan says predecessor cut assessment for doctor suitor

    Former property assessor Teresa Kirkham has been accused of fraudulently lowering an assessment for Dr. Clary P. Foote, whom she once dated.

    Leading the charge against her is current assessor David Morgan, who has his own ties to Foote.

    “Have you established a primary care physician here in Tennessee?” Morgan was asked during a deposition.

    “Yes,” he responded. “Dr. Clary P. Foote.”


    Normally, it’s an investigation into an alleged crime against a child that brings different agencies and volunteers to the Kids First Child Advocacy Center in Loudon County.
    This week, they gathered there for a different reason.
    “This is a reminder of what we do and why we do it and a special reminder of Clifford Wallace Dotson,” Executive Director Chris Evans-Longmire said. “He will never be forgotten again.”
    Clifford, 2, who lived in East Roane County, died in May of what authorities have said was starvation.

  • Lawsuit filed in restraint death

    An investigation by the District Attorney General’s Office determined there was no wrongdoing in the death of 26-year-old Dustin Barnwell.
    However, a lawsuit filed on behalf of his minor daughter alleges there was misconduct on multiple levels.
    Barnwell died on Nov. 11, 2011. According to a district attorney report on the investigation, Roane County Sheriff’s officers Richard Stooksbury and Mitch Grigsby responded to Barnwell’s home on Roane Manor Drive on an overdose complaint.

  • Rockwood man may be charged in I-40 wreck

    Alcohol may be involved in a fiery two-vehicle crash on Interstate 40 in Knoxville last Friday. Five people were injured.
    Witnesses told police that Oliver Butler, 64, of Rockwood,  was traveling westbound on I-40 when he swerved across the median and his GMC van became airborne.
    They said it landed on a Mercedes SUV, then overturned and caught fire.
    Passersby who pulled Butler from the vehicle said they smelled alcohol, and officers found beer cans inside and outside the van.

  • Kingston ‘tweaks’ sign laws

    While it may be true that miracles happen all the time, Kingston City Council members aren’t concerned with signs from above.
    They’re worried about the more terrestrial versions you see every day — on the side of the road, in store windows, on big billboards, in the beds of broken-down old trucks.
    And at a Nov. 6 work session, council moved to put the first reading of an ordinance amending its existing sign ordinance for a  vote in the full council session this week.

  • Looseleaf Laureate: Train draws crowds

    My boyfriend, Derek, while patching a leak near the chimney of his home in Hamilton County, called me from his roof last Sunday.
    “I just heard a steam whistle,” he said. “Is today the day the train runs to Roane County?”
    It was.
    Chattanooga’s steam engine was making a rare passenger excursion on Norfolk Southern tracks along Walden Ridge. On that day, it was set to go into Harriman, turn around and head back.

  • District attorney tight-lipped about probe

    District Attorney General Russell Johnson has declined a public records request to review correspondence between his office, Roane County Attorney Tom McFarland and Roane County Property Assessor David Morgan.
    “Those items are part of an ongoing investigation being conducted by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation,” Johnson said. “Per TCA statute, information that is part of an ongoing TBI investigation is strictly confidential.”
    Johnson responded to the Roane County News’ public records request by letter. 

  • Earthquake excites, but no damage

    An Eastern Kentucky earthquake Saturday rattled residents in Roane County.
    The 4.3-magnitude quake which started near Whitesburg, Ky., was felt in various degrees throughout East Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina and other states.
    Sandra and Walter Calbaugh of Kingston both experienced the unnerving incident.
    “It shook the curio cabinet and shook around pretty good,” Walter said. “There was no trouble telling what it was. There was no doubt.”