Local News

  • Industrial site gets special designation

    A prime parcel in the Roane County Industrial Park made the Select Tennessee program.

    The 44-acre site was not only receiving the coveted certification but also given a “plus” designation.

    “The state will personally premiere that site on the Select Tennessee website. Basically it puts our parcel out front of others because of certification. Major site selectors across the country and world will look at our site first,” said Darrell Williams, vice president of business development for The Roane Alliance.

  • Attorney fired up about anonymous comments

    Harriman attorney Donice Butler is fed up with anonymous comments being posted about her on Topix.com.
    So much so that she’s talking about filing a lawsuit against the website.

    “I’ve had it with people getting away with it,” she said. “If it were true, then the people who are saying it ought to have the courage to say who they are, and how they can prove it.”

  • Topix CEO: ‘We generally favor the rights of people to speak’

    Editor’s note: Topix CEO Chris Tolles contacted Roane County News reporter Damon Lawrence this month for a story Lawrence was working on about Topix.com. Here is part of their conversation.
    Lawrence: Some complain your website let’s users post slanderous and defamatory comments anonymously and people that are being talked about have no recourse. What’s your response to that?

  • Alleged prison construction scammer arrested

    It took two years, but the authorities finally caught up with Rickey Kenneth Hubbard.

    He faces 20 counts of criminal impersonation for allegedly duping people into believing the Tennessee Department of Correction had contracted with Yates Construction Co. to build a prison in Swan Pond.
    Hubbard claimed to be the project’s construction manager.
    Bracey Bahm got suspicious and contacted Kingston police on Aug. 15, 2011.

  • Flutter by on butterfly wings

    Betty and Jim Wilson have around 20 butterfly bushes around their Kingston home that have attracted a swarm of butterflies this year.
    Yellow and black tiger swallowtails were particularly attracted to the bushes one day last week.

    Betty said she loves to garden but jokes she doesn’t know how.
    “I try everything,” she said. “Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t”

  • Land values look to drop

    The next property reappraisal for Roane County is 2015.
    Values could decrease at that time, according to what officials said earlier this month.  
    “Roane County will probably go down,” said T.H. Brown, chairman of the Roane County Board of Equalization.
    “From what we are seeing, there’s definitely a decline in most areas as far as real world qualified sales compared to what we have as values in the assessor’s office,” Property Assessor David Morgan said.

  • Smoot lawyer: Money for bond was family’s, not his

    Should a man who is out of jail on a $250,000 cash bond be able to afford his own attorney?
    The answer is no in the case of accused killer Shawn Smoot.
    “He didn’t come up with that money,” attorney Bob Vogel said. “His family did.”
    Smoot was released from jail in March after his parents posted the $250,000 cash bond.

    Despite the six-figure surety, Smoot is still considered an indigent defendant in Roane County Criminal Court, which means the state is paying for Vogel to represent him. 

  • ‘They saved my life, without question’

    Chasity Pennington didn’t plan on getting her mammogram last year.
    It’s a good thing she did. If she hadn’t, it might have been too late to help her today.
    “To me, it is God’s work,” the Oliver Springs woman said. “If I had waited even a year, the outcome would have been totally different.”

    Pennington was diagnosed and treated for an aggressive form of breast cancer shortly after her mammogram by the University of Tennessee Medical Center mobile mammography unit.

  • Renaissance Fest over first hurdle on property lease

    Darkhorse Designs’ Lars Paulson is anxious to get started with work on the land he hopes to make a permanent renaissance festival in Harriman.
    Lars and wife Barrie Paulson got approval last week of a non-binding letter of intent regarding 86 acres in what is called the Harriman industrial park property off Fiske Road.
    The couple plan to bring a contract for a 10-year lease of the property with an option to buy it to a coming Harriman City Council meeting.
    The Paulsons have financial backers and hope to have a festival up and going by next May.

  • Lawyer indicted on sex charges

    Kent Booher, a lawyer from Harriman, was indicted in Loudon County on Monday on several sex charges.

    Booher was indicted on three counts of aggravated statutory rape, one count of solicitation of a minor and one count of aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor.  
    “It’s a surprise to me,” Kingston attorney Chris Cawood said. “I know him. I always thought he was a good guy and it’s really shocking to hear that.”
    Booher does criminal defense work in Roane County Criminal Court.