Local News


    Gentle Reader: You may recall that in our concluding last week we reminded everyone of our usual practice of taking a brief hiatus for the holidays.

    We do this for two reasons, the first being our life-long pattern of taking time off from whatever we were usually doing to instead do holiday related activities in a more relaxed manner than would be possible if we were also pursuing our regular activities — a practice we highly recommend.

  • Commissioner’s home gutted in fire

    Roane County Commissioner Jerry Goddard and his wife, Sherron, lost their home in a fire late Tuesday night around midnight.

    “I assume they lost everything. You hate it any time, but this time of year it seems to be worse,” said Randy Scarborough, Midtown Volunteer Fire Department Chief.

    Scarborough said it may have been a heater malfunctioning in the basement that caused the fire, which came up through the kitchen area.

    Harriman Fire Department is closest to the home and ran mutual aid with Midtown.

  • Remembering the ash spill

    It’s been nearly five years, but Melinda Hillman still has vivid memories of Dec. 22, 2008.

    “I got up and went outside as I usually did to drink my coffee and look out over the lake,” she said. “It looked like a giant moonscape.”

    What Hillman saw from her Emory River Road home was the result of an early-morning dike failure at the nearby TVA Kingston Fossil Plant.

    More than 5 million cubic yards of fly ash spilled over 300 acres, some of it in strange blocks that locals immediately dubbed “ashbergs.”

  • Murder mystery in Rockwood?

    The body of Janice Pugh Tollett of Rockwood was found outside her mother’s home at 404 Tedder St. Sunday.

    “They found her lying back there behind the house,” said Ralph Hedrick, her cousin. “Nobody knows how she got back there. You can tell there had been a lot of movement. There was mud on the cars. She was lying in a mud hole.”

    Hedrick said an autopsy is being done on Tollett, whose home was across the street from where she was found.

  • DAG backs off smurf turf war

    Even though city ordinances banning the sale of pseudoephedrine without a prescription have been deemed illegal, one proponent believes the amount of attention drawn to the issue could be beneficial.

    “I am hopeful that the number of localities that have passed such ordinances will have brought enough attention to the legislature to ensure that they take some sort of affirmative action on the issue,” District Attorney General Russell Johnson said.

  • Students can now register at RSCC

    Registration is under way for the spring 2014 semester at Roane State Community College.

    Students need to be aware when they register that the college has a Jan. 6 fee deadline.

    Students who have registered must pay their fees by Jan. 6 at 4:30 p.m. to keep their class schedules for spring semester.

    Students can pay fees at www.roanestate.edu. They need to log in to RaiderNet and click “Your Account” to get started.

    Students can pay by phone using major credit or debit cards. The number is 882-4515.

  • COURTS: Trial delayed for accused robbers

    Accused robbers Mark Andrew Randolph and Rufena Jean Bunch had their Dec. 17 federal trial rescheduled for April 1.

    The two Roane County residents allegedly went on a robbery spree in September.

    Bunch’s attorney, Bruce Poston, filed a motion to continue on Nov. 24. U.S. Magistrate C. Clifford Shirley Jr. granted his request during a hearing last week.

    Randolph’s attorney, Jonathan Moffatt, did not object to the delay.

  • Santa's Helpers


    The Harriman Fire Department is making getting messages to Santa a little easier again. From left, Kevin Shepard, Josh Duncan, Brandon Alcorn, Chief Brad Goss and Jeff Cunningham pose behind the Santa Letter mailbox outside the firehall. Families can drive right up to the mailbox to drop in their letters.



    Dyllis Springs
    • New elementary school for 600 students

    Bowers Elementary
    • Two-story addition
    with 15 classrooms
    • Library
    • Teachers workroom
    • Complete renovation of
    administrative offices
    • Modify existing building for handicap access, including
    restroom renovations,
    an elevator and entry ramps


  • RISING FROM THE ASHES: TVA disaster boon for Roane schools

    Roane County Schools was able to complete several multi-million dollar building projects with the $32 million it received because of the TVA ash spill.

    Without a doubt, that’s had a positive impact on local education, Director of Schools Gary Aytes said.

    “We feel really good about the effects it has had,” he said. “Any time you can provide better facilities, your students are much more likely to be enthusiastic and want to come to school and do a better job.”