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Local News

  • Looseleaf Laureate: Doing a little reassessing of my own

    Life can be humbling.
    I’d been in “a mood” since late last week, when I received a notice from the property assessor’s office increasing the assessed value of my modest — at best — 1950s ranch house by more than $20,000.
    They said the house I paid about $94,000 less than a decade ago was now worth nearly $145,000.
    You’d howl about this if you could see my house.

  • Midtown annexation IS possible

    The state senate bill that created an annexation moratorium does not necessarily protect all of Midtown’s Hwy. 70 corridor from Harriman’s reach after all.
    Instead, the bill’s moratorium against any city extending its corporate limits by annexation ordinance from April 1, 2013, to May 1, 2014, only extends to property used primarily for residential or agricultural purposes.
    It says nothing about commercial properties.
    Also, the citizen voting requirement for annexation is a no-go.

  • Jim Henry officially DCS director

    Forget the interim part: After a short stint filling in, Kingston’s Jim Henry is now the commissioner of the Department of Children’s Services.
    Gov. Bill Haslam announced the full appointment Tuesday to the beleagured department.
    Henry, the first commissioner of the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, had also been serving as interim director of DCS since February’s resignation of former DCS commissioner Kate O’Day.

  • Rocky’s case gets rockier

    Rocky Houston suffered another setback in his criminal case last week. U.S. Magistrate C. Clifford Shirley Jr. issued a report and recommendation, advising District Court Judge Danny Reeves to deny Houston’s motion to suppress pole camera footage.

  • Roane County Tea Party meets; co-chairman in D.C.
  • School board OK’s Aytes’ request to turn down pay raise

    The Roane County Board of Education voted 6-4 last Thursday to allow Director of Schools Gary Aytes to forgo his contracted $3,000 pay raise for the 2013-14 school year.
    The proposed budget for the upcoming year does not include across-the-board raises for school system employees, so Aytes said he didn’t think it was fair for him to get the raise.
    His salary will remain at $110,250 for the 2013-14 school year.

  • Schools may need 19¢ tax rate hike

    Roane County Board of Education member Mike “Brillo” Miller last month guaranteed the proposed budget for the 2013-14 school year wouldn’t require a 26-cent increase in the property tax rate to fund.
    “Will there probably be something? Yes, it will,” Miller said during a joint meeting with the Roane County Commission.
    Right now, that something is 19 cents.
    That’s the increase in the property tax rate school system business manager Eric Harbin is recommending the board request from the Roane County Commission.

  • Layoffs coming at Toho

    Approximately 65 employees will likely be out of work by this fall when Toho Tenax America moves part of its operations to Japan and Germany.
    “Despite the hard work and best efforts of TTA’s dedicated and hardworking employees, production at the Rockwood location will be significantly reduced by the end of the third quarter 2013,” said Rob Klawonn, president at Toho Tenax America Inc.
    That would be by the end of September.
    Klawonn also read a company statement:

  • Neighbor denies firing at Tiger Haven

    Toby Dean Rhynehart spent almost 24 hours in the Roane County Jail last week.
    “I shouldn’t have been in there to start with,” he said.
    Roane County Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Self charged Rhynehart with reckless endangerment on May 14 after rounds from his firearm allegedly went onto the property of Tiger Haven, a big-cat sanctuary in East Roane County.   

    Rhynehart denied the allegations in Self’s report and said he was merely exercising his Second Amendment right on his own property. 

  • Tiger Haven neighbor accused

    A Roane County sheriff’s deputy said he had to scramble when shots were fired near the Tiger Haven big-cat rescue in East Roane County.
    Toby Dean Rhynehart, 535 Dogwood Road, has been charged with reckless endangerment in the incident Tuesday.
    Rhynehart’s property abuts Tiger Haven, which houses several types of large cats, including tigers, lions, leopards and cougars.
    For years, Rhynehart and other neighbors have accused the sanctuary of being dangerous and a public nuisance.