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Local News

  • More skepticism of TVA involvement on reports

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    dlawrence@roanecounty.com

    The Tennessee Department of Health’s recently released draft public health assessment on the ash spill underwent a TVA review before it was made public.

    Apparently that’s a common practice among agencies that have studied the disaster.  

    “We call it a courtesy review,” said Jeff Steevens, a research biologist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Research and Development Center.

    The ERDC looked into how Emory River dredging would impact fish.

  • Houston spitting incident going to court

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    dlawrence@roanecounty.com

    Rocky Houston is still awaiting a decision from an appeals court about his murder case.

    However, an unrelated matter that involved a scuffle with officers is moving forward.

    The incident happened on Oct. 10, 2008, at the Roane County Courthouse. Houston allegedly became unruly while Roane County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Tim Phillips and Kingston Assistant Police Chief Wes Stooksbury were escorting him out of the courthouse.

  • Wildlife questions linger after disaster

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    dlawrence@roanecounty.com

    Tony Scruggs is not a biologist or a scientist.

    He’s just a man who enjoys watching the local wildlife from his lakefront home outside of Kingston.

    “We used to see a lot of water snakes,” he said. “We’d watch them from the dock, and they’d come in there and swim right underneath us and get in my dock rocks.”

  • Kingston sees brighter future through lighting project

    By TERRI LIKENS

    tlikens@roanecounty.com

    Kingston’s long-sought lighting project for the Gallaher Road interchange of Interstate 40 is back on track again.

    The city sees the lighting project as a beacon to draw sorely needed retail businesses into its revenue mix and to signal to potential customers that the businesses are there.

    The federal funding for the project — which required the money to be spent by a certain time — was retracted through no fault of the city’s.

  • County mayor, sheriff to seek re-election

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    dlawrence@roanecounty.com

    County executive, all 15 county commission seats and several other offices are up for grabs  in next year’s General Election.

    Candidates can start picking up petitions on Jan. 1. The qualifying deadline is April 1, and Election Day is Aug. 5.

    County Executive Mike Farmer has already stated his intentions to seek another term. So has Sheriff Jack Stockton.

    Both were elected to their first terms in 2006.

  • Crowded courtrooms cause for concern

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    dlawrence@roanecounty.com

    Dennis Humphrey recalled how things used to be when he showed up for work at the Roane County Courthouse.

    “I started with the DA’s office in ’84, and on a typical Monday, I might be looking at 40 warrants,” he said.

    Times have changed. Now a General Sessions Court judge, Humphrey said it’s not uncommon to deal with 300 warrants on a typical Monday.

    “Our criminal docket is so much larger than our other dockets,” he said.

  • Report says no health impact from ash so far

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    dlawrence@roanecounty.com

    TVA was allowed to review the Tennessee Department of Health’s draft health assessment of the fly ash catastrophe before it was released to the public on Tuesday. TVA is not mentioned among the agencies that reviewed the assessment in the state’s press release.

  • Rockwood relaxes liquor laws

    By CINDY SIMPSON

    csimpson@roanecounty.com

    What can sometimes be a hot-button issue wasn’t for the Rockwood City Council, who last week approved lifting distance requirements for establishments selling alcohol.

    The council approved on second reading an ordinance that removes the 100-foot distance requirement from churches and schools if the property is commercially zoned at C-1 and C-2.

    The ordinance also removes the limit of six on-premises consumption permits for the community.

  • Fall break kept in school calendars

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    dlawrence@roanecounty.com

    The Roane County Board of Education approved calendars for the 2010-11 and 2011-12 school years at last week’s board meeting.

    “It’s basically the same calendars that we’ve had the last two or three years,” school board member Everett Massengill said.

    “We need to pass it, get it out and let the people know when school is going to start and when we’re going to have breaks. That just makes it easier on everyone.”

  • Ash spill anniversaries will be hard on community

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    dlawrence@roanecounty.com

    This past March marked 30 years since a radioactive release at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant near Middletown, Pa.

    The anniversary was noted by numerous news organizations, including Time and National Public Radio.

    “It seems like every five-year increment gets more media attention than others,” Three Mile Island communications manager Ralph DeSantis said, “so like the 25th-year anniversary, we received quite a bit of media attention, actually international attention.”