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Local News

  • Lights out for Kingston corridor plan

    By TERRI LIKENS

    tlikens@roanecounty.com

    Kingston’s plan to draw much-needed retail business to the city’s Gallaher Road corridor took what Mayor Troy Beets called “a kick in the mouth” recently.

    For years, the city has been taking steps to draw “upscale retail” businesses to the corridor.

    It has made zoning changes, annexed parcels and extended water and sewer lines.

    The hitch came with one of the last parts of the plan — lighting the interchange at Interstate 40.

  • Little white house could cost taxpayers $310,000

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    dlawrence@roanecounty.com

    Roane County Executive Mike Farmer said he doesn’t want people going through a metal detector to do business on the third floor of the courthouse.

    Because of that, the county could end up investing around $310,000 in a small white house adjacent to the new jail.

    The county purchased the house from Jon and Mary Wilson in August 2007.

    According to the Tennessee Real Estate Assessment Data Web site, the house had an appraised value of $99,000. However, the county paid $132,221 to buy it.

  • Fire displaces retirement community resident

    By CINDY SIMPSON

    csimpson@roanecounty.com

    A fire at Harriman Gardens Monday night has displaced one resident of the retirement community.

    “It was controlled real quick, controlled to that one apartment,” Harriman Assistant Fire Chief Brad Daniels said.

    Daniels said when firefighters arrived, no sign of fire was visible from outside. It was different inside, however. Two firefighters went inside to a hallway and found heavy smoke.

    The firefighters evacuated anyone in danger and began an internal attack on the fire, according to Daniels.

  • 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.