Local News

  • Pinnacle Drive to open to nearby property

    Pinnacle Drive is yet another step closer to being opened to a parcel neighboring the Pinnacle Pointe development.

    Harriman City Council last week approved second reading of an ordinance to eminent domain an embankment to allow for the roadway’s access to a property, making it appealing to development in the growing Midtown area.

    Property owner Robert Bowen has appealed to city officials many times over the past several years because a number of interested parties have looked elsewhere due to lack of access to the shopping complex.

  • Leon Houston staying behind bars

    U.S. Magistrate C. Clifford Shirley Jr. ruled last week that Leon Houston must remain behind bars while his federal firearms case is pending.

    Defense attorney Joseph Fanduzz argued for release with conditions.

    “There are no conditions that could reasonably assure the safety of the community,” Shirley said.

    Leon Houston, 54, and his younger brother, Rocky Houston, 52, were arrested this month on federal firearms charges.

    Rocky Houston faces 14 counts of being a convicted felon in possession of firearms.

  • Sex offenders found with guns, making meth

    Derrick Swenson, a senior inspector with the U.S. Marshals Service, said it’s not uncommon to find weapons and narcotics when conducting compliance checks on sex offenders.

    That turned out to be the case earlier this month when the marshals teamed up with local law enforcement for Operation Honey Badger.

    Four sex offenders were arrested. Authorities checked on 80 during the three-day operation.

    Tony Andrew Collier and Daniel Leon Fritts were arrested for being in possession of firearms.

  • Bridge under flooding waters

    Roane County dodged the snowstorm bullet that struck other portions of East Tennessee late last week, but the county wasn’t immune from heavy rains and the ensuing flooding.

    Roane County Park, closed due to downed trees on Thursday, still had parts underwater on Friday, including a wooden footbridge along its popular walking trail.

    Friday’s sunshine was a welcome respite from the days of damp, dreary weather earlier in the week.

  • Harriman opts for mediation in shopping center litigation

    Harriman attorney Harold Balcom recommends mediation, not arbitration, to try to reach a settlement of Pinnacle Pointe conflicts between city officials and developers Steve Kirkham and Jerry Duncan.

    “The reality is in mediation, if you reach agreement, then you put that down in a court order and it’s binding,” Balcom explained.

  • Harriman sidewalk signs must go

    Roane County Commissioner Randy Ellis thinks Harriman should make some changes to its codes enforcement.

    Ellis, whose family owns a small business called Ellis Surplus and Salvage, recently was miffed to find out he has been violating city codes by having a small sign on the downtown sidewalk.

    Other businesses, such as the bakery, also have had such signs, but officials said they also have been notified they must go.

  • Kingston seeks rehab funds

    The deadline looms for Kingston’s latest try at a Community Development Block Grant for 2013, the city council learned at this month.

    The CDBG is a $500,000 federal housing rehabilitation grant administered through the state. The grants require no matching funds.

    Kingston applied in 2012, but did not receive it.

    Council voted to try again. A community meeting on Dec. 18 saw 25 or more local residents express an interest in participating in the program.

  • Quick arrest in drugstore holdup

    Kinser Drugs in Kingston was robbed on Wednesday of $53,460 worth of pills.

    Claude Damon Ladd, 226 Little Johnson Valley Road, Kingston, has been charged with aggravated robbery in the incident.

    Kingston police received a call around 5:15 p.m. concerning a robbery at the store.

    “Upon arrival I spoke with Cameron Hamby and witnesses, which stated that a white male entered the store from the Third Street entrance yelling at everybody, ‘This is a robbery and I am not kidding,’” the police report said.

  • Rocky Houston indicted

    A federal grand jury returned a 14-count indictment against Rocky Houston on Tuesday. All 14 counts charge him with being a convicted felon in possession of firearms.

    He appeared before U.S. Magistrate C. Clifford Shirley on Wednesday for arraignment.

    “Sir, there will be a conflict of interest right here,” Rocky claimed.

    His brother, Leon Houston, listed Shirley as a defendant in a lawsuit that was filed in federal court in 2003. Rocky argued that’s why Shirley needed to recuse. The judge declined to step aside, however.

  • 18-year-old accused of computer theft

    A Rockwood teen is facing theft charges for allegedly stealing computers from Roane State Community College.

    Steven Austin Clark, 18, of 310 Douglas Ave., was arrested on Tuesday.

    The warrant said the computers were stolen from a computer lab in the Technology Building.
    Authorities said Clark took six computers, two at a time.

    The alleged thefts occurred between Nov. 1 and Dec. 14.