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Local News

  • Farewells said to departing commissioners

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    dlawrence@roanecounty.com

    The responsibility of passing the county’s budget for the 2010-11 fiscal year could be left for the next county commission.

    The current commission voted to postpone the budget resolutions on Monday’s agenda until September.

    “All of these can’t be acted on tonight because we do not have a certified tax rate,” Commission Chairman Troy Beets said.

    The current commission terms expire on Aug. 31, and the commission will have six new members when it meets in September.

  • Plea issued for missing Ponderosa sign

    By TERRI LIKENS

    tlikens@roanecounty.com

    About 40 years ago, Sydney Woodlee went door-to-door in her Ponderosa development collecting money for an attractive sign to designate the then-relatively new neighborhood.

    The large, wooden sign has since been a Bluff Road landmark until two weeks ago, when it went missing.

    The sheriff’s office has been contacted, but based on previous experience, Woodlee is taking an extra step — making a public plea for the sign’s return.

  • Election notes: Heat still on for some

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    dlawrence@roanecounty.com

    Officials who were not re-elected on Thursday could still have some important business to tend to.

    The county has yet to pass a budget for the 2010-11 fiscal year. The budget could come up for a vote before the current county executive and commission terms expire on Aug. 31.

  • Woody wins county executive race; Beets beaten on county commission

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    and TERRI LIKENS

    Stay the course or a new direction. That was the choice presented in the race for Roane County executive.

    The voters chose change and elected Ron Woody to be the next county executive.

    "It's exciting," Woody said. "It was a lot of hard work. I'd like to thank all my supporters. This was possible because of them"

  • Emergency chief defends spending

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    dlawrence@roanecounty.com

    Take-home vehicles. Expensive sunglasses. Too many employees.

    Those are some of the issues that have been brought up about Roane County’s emergency management department over the past year.

    In a lengthy interview, director Howie Rose addresses numerous issues and seeks to provide insight on why his department has a need for certain items, such as flat-screen televisions and flashy rims for emergency vehicles.    

  • Couple dies after sex charges filed

    From staff reports

    A couple facing criminal charges in Roane County was found dead at a home in the Westel community of Cumberland County last week.

    Cumberland County Sheriff Butch Burgess said a relative discovered the bodies of James Phillip Jones, 46, and his wife, Linda Mae Jones, 35. Cumberland authorities have yet to make a ruling on whether the deaths were the result of a murder-suicide or double suicide. Burgess said officials are still awaiting autopsy results.

  • EMA budget, taste in shades scrutinized

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    dlawrence@roanecounty.com

    Roane County’s proposed emergency management budget for the 2010-11 fiscal year is $592,355.

    In contrast, Loudon County, which has two interstates crisscrossing it, has an emergency management budget for the 2010-11 fiscal year that’s less than half that.

    “The data is going to tell you if you need to look further into something,” county executive candidate Ron Woody said. “What the data tells me is we need to look closer at our emergency management.”

  • Local berry growers balance work, rewards

    By TERRI LIKENS

    tlikens@roanecounty.com

    On one of the hottest weekends in July, husband-and-wife team Joe Matlock and Rita Senko put out the all-call to their friends: the blueberry crop is ripe and ready.

    The two, who work desk jobs on the Oak Ridge Reservation during the week, live on a bit of acreage near the Roane-Cumberland county line on Hwy. 70. Much of their land is wooded, but they share one 4-acre plot of cleared land with 230 blueberry bushes.

  • Debt burden weighs on voters

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    dlawrence@roanecounty.com

    Roane County has a population of 53,508, according to a recent U.S. Census estimate.

    If every resident contributed $1,000, that still wouldn’t be enough to pay off the county’s $56 million debt.

    By comparison, nearby Loudon County’s debt is $27.3 million for about 47,000 residents.

    The candidates running for Roane County executive have all spoken  during the campaign about lowering the debt.

  • Unpaid fines a priority for clerk hopefuls

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    dlawrence@roanecounty.com

    Looking forward won’t be the only priority for Roane County’s next circuit court clerk.

    The candidates have all said they plan to look back to try and collect court costs and fines that have gone unpaid.

    “We’ll be going back through the records and seeing if we can collect if you can prove it’s not been paid,” Bob Alford said.