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Local News

  • LOOSELEAF LAUREATE: Are you mocking me? Keep up the good work

    One of the highest points on my ridge-top country lane is a nearby utility pole.

    It has been commandeered by a remarkable creature — the most talented mockingbird I have yet to hear.

    Morning and evening, that bird sits up there singing his heart out.

    I’m surprised he doesn’t hav a flock of females swooning around him because, well, he’s just that good.

    As he flashes his white wing bars and cocks his tail, it occurs to me that he is, not doubt, an Elvis among mockingbirds.

  • County raises may be hard to come by

    Pay raises have become a hot button issue as county officials work to put together a budget for the 2011-12 fiscal year.

    “Everything that the employees are buying is increasing, so I feel that the salaries should be increasing as well,” Roane County Trustee Wilma Eblen said. “That’s my personal opinion.”

    Despite an increase in the cost of goods and services, trustee office employees and others at the courthouse are looking at another year without a raise.

  • SEC fines former county adviser

    A company that previously helped guide Roane County on financial matters will be forking over millions of dollars to resolve its legal woes.

    Last week the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced that Morgan Keegan & Co. and Morgan Asset Management agreed to pay $200 million to settle fraud charges related to subprime mortgage-backed securities.

  • Outgoing Rockwood council members speak of pride, pain

    A touching moment closed the end of the last regular Rockwood City Council meeting Monday.

    All the outgoing members were honored for their efforts on the council with plaques listing their years of service and the committees they served on.

    Councilwoman Krystal Hennager said she may be leaving her seat but wouldn’t be leaving the council chambers.

    Instead, she’ll be where residents sit and working on projects geared for youth.

    “Save me a seat,” Hennager said.

  • Changes expected for Rockwood council

    Some changes may be in the works for the new Rockwood City Council meets for the first time after its swearing-in today.

    A resolution could mean that Vice Mayor Peggy Evans is replaced with the top vote-getter in this year’s election, Jason Jolly.
    Officials have said that traditionally Evans would remain vice mayor her entire term. However, Mayor James Watts said he wouldn’t object to having someone vote for someone else to be vice mayor.

  • Harriman man charged with sexual exploitation of a minor

    STAFF REPORTS
    A Harriman man indicted on one count of sexual exploitation of a minor turned himself in to the Roane County Sheriff’s Office Monday.
    Benjamin Willard Miller, 33, 425 Byrd Avenue, on or around May 6, 2011, possessed “material which includes computer-generated photograph(s) of more than 100 in number, depicting a minor engaging in sexual activity,” the true bill from his June 21 indictment said.
    Roane County Sheriff’s records indicated Miller turned himself in to the detention center. 
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  • Annual invasion of the willowflies
  • Rockwood man earns hefty sentence

    A Rockwood man was sentenced to 262 months —nearly 22 years — in federal court this week on his charges of posing as a federal agent to commit a violent Oak Ridge home invasion in 2009.

    In February, a jury convicted Ricky Eugene Cofer of impersonation of an officer and being a convicted felon in possession of a pistol.

    In addition to his federal sentence, he is already serving time in the state prison system.

  • Cost of college jumps

    Roane State Community College and Tennessee Technology Center will both see rising tuition and fees after the Tennessee Board of Regents approved increases last week for all its institutions.

    The board also approved a 3-percent cost-of-living allowance for all regular, eligible board of regents employees.

    Roane State and other community college students across the state can expect to pay $132 more per semester.

    Tennessee Technology Center at Harriman students can expect to pay $80 more per semester.

  • Drug dealer in court on murder charge

    Convicted drug dealer Ralph O’Neal was arraigned for first-degree murder in Roane County Criminal Court on Monday.

    He’s charged with the August 2007 murder of Ronnie Dean Cofer.

    Sporting dreadlocks, O’Neal entered the courtroom in handcuffs and dressed in a striped jail uniform.

    He pleaded not guilty to the murder charge.  

    O’Neal’s legal troubles date back years.

    He was indicted on federal drug charges in 2008.