Local News

  • Coffman’s the marrying kind

    Una Coffman takes great pride in her long stint as Roane County Commissioner, the lone female voice in a roomful of men for 12 of those 16 years.
    One of the numerous duties that inspires her most of all — and as a former commissioner she can perform — is marriage ceremonies.
    “I didn’t even know we could do weddings,” she admitted. “I’ve met some really fascinating people, interesting people.
    “It has been a real joy to me.”

  • Educators ramping up support for more taxes

    Director of Schools Gary Aytes is encouraging people who support a property tax rate increase for schools to show up in droves for a public hearing on the county’s 2013-14 budget.
    The meeting is scheduled for today – Monday – at 6:30 p.m. at the Roane County Courthouse in Kingston.
    The actual vote on the budget, however, is expected at the regular monthly commission meeting on July 8.

  • Did previous pay raises throw off school funds?

    Pay raises for school personnel have been brought up a lot during this year’s county budget process.
    Members of the Roane County Commission’s budget committee contend the school system wouldn’t be facing a shortfall if it hadn’t given them out the past few years.
    “I did not see any future planning being conducted under the prior school administration, and I’m not so sure how they’re looking at it now,” Roane County Executive Ron Woody said, “other than asking the Roane County taxpayers to bail them out.”

  • Board to look at extending Aytes’ contract

    A contract extension for Director of Schools Gary Aytes could be on the agenda at next month’s Roane County Board of Education meeting.
    In 2012 the board picked Aytes to succeed Toni McGriff, who retired. Aytes has one-year remaining on a two-year contract.
    “I want to thank all the faculty and staff, the administrative staff here for helping me make it through the first year,” Aytes said.

  • It’s official: Taxes going up in Rockwood

    Rockwood residents will be paying a little more in city property taxes in the coming fiscal year.
    Rockwood City Council last week approved second and final reading of a budget that includes a 5-cent property tax increase.
    That brings the city’s property-tax rate to 95 cents per $100 valuation toward a budget with $5.4 million in expected general fund revenue and expenditures.
    “I still have the same objections now as I did before,” said Vice Mayor Peggy Evans, who cast the only dissenting vote on the budget.

  • Alpha House: Jail to joy

    Inspired by jail ministry, a cheery Oliver Springs house offers a second chance to women who have been part of the criminal justice system.

    Four women at a time are allowed in the six-month Alpha House program. Most have drug addictions and have come from broken families and abuse.
    “It has completely turned me around,” said Missy King. “It has shown me all the energy and effort I put into staying high I can put all that energy and effort into doing something good.”

  • Regions Bank dispute continues

    Dr. Clary Foote purchased the Regions Bank building in downtown Harriman for $280,500 in January 2012. It’s now appraised at $3.633 million.
    “That’s the value that we feel confident about,” Roane County Property Assessor David Morgan said.
    Foote disagrees with the value.
    “All of downtown Harriman wouldn’t be worth that much,” he said.

    The building has been the subject of some controversy, involving the assessor’s office before.

  • Wandering baby pulled from tracks

    A Rockwood mother and father have been charged with aggravated child abuse and neglect after their 2-year-old son was reportedly seen playing on some railroad tracks.
    Rahab Jaramillo, 25, and Jonathan White, 30, were arrested on Monday.
    The child’s grandmother reportedly told police, “The parents need parenting class.”
    “Both parents ... were upstairs in the residence and not watching the child, allowing him to play unattended on the tracks,” Rockwood police officer Josh Coffey said in the arrest warrant.

  • School drug policy approved by board

    A revised policy on drug testing for student athletes was approved on second reading at Tuesday’s Roane County Board of Education meeting.
    The revision removes the opt-out clause and subjects all student athletes to random drug testing during a sport season.
    “Does this policy have in it where we test all kids before each season?” Mike “Brillo” Miller asked.
    “No,” Wade McCullough responded. “This is still providing only random testing.”