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Local News

  • 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.”

  • TVA critic sees improvement in agency

    By DAMON  LAWRENCE

    dlawrence@roanecounty.com

    TVA is starting to win over one of its biggest critics.

    After issuing two scathing reports about the agency and its handling of the fly ash catastrophe, “it appears TVA is marching in the right direction,” TVA Inspector General Richard Moore said

    Next week is the one-year anniversary of the catastrophe.

    Moore, TVA President/CEO Tom Kilgore and others testified before the House Subcommittee on Water Resources and the Environment on Dec. 9.

  • Burglar shot by homeowner

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    dlawrence@roanecounty.com

    A suspected burglar was shot by a homeowner on Old Valley Road Sunday

    night. Preliminary reports indicate self-defense in the shooting.

    "The burglar had come through the window and made entry into his house,"

  • Leo Francendese: EPA's man in the middle

    By TERRI LIKENS

    tlikens@roanecounty.com

    Overseeing the most urgent part of the TVA ash spill disaster rests, in large part, on the shoulders of one man.

    Leo Francendese is an on-scene coordinator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Emergency Response and Removal Branch.

    He’s a looming figure — a casually dressed man who looks like he’d be more comfortable in the field than the meeting-after-meeting he is needed in.

  • Dogs cleaned out of alleged puppy mill

    By DAMON  LAWRENCE

    dlawrence@roanecounty.com

    John Sanchez, a criminal investigator with the District Attorney General’s Office, said he understands the passion people have about dogs.

    “I have a couple of dogs myself,” he said. “I don’t have any children. They are my kids.”

    That passion was on display during an impromptu press conference Sanchez and Roane County Animal Shelter director John Griffin held at the courthouse.

    Some dog rescue groups wanted answers about the case involving Margie Dodd.

  • Incest plea nets 9-month jail term

    By DAMON  LAWRENCE

    dlawrence@roanecounty.com

    A guilty plea to a charge of incest has netted a man a nine-month jail term.

    The victim was the man’s stepdaughter.

    Prosecutor Bill Reedy said the man pleaded guilty in Roane County Criminal Court on Tuesday.

    The man, who fathered his stepdaughter’s child, is supposed to start serving his sentence in the Roane County Jail next month.

  • When is free money not a bargain?

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    dlawrence@roanecounty.com

    Roane County is looking to increase its number of paid firefighters.

    According to a resolution endorsed by the budget committee, a federal grant would allow the county to hire eight firefighters and have their salaries and benefits covered for two years.     

    “It sounds great, but you don’t get anything for nothing,” Commissioner Ron Berry said.

  • County applies for firefighter grant despite list of concerns

    By DAMON  LAWRENCE

    dlawrence@roanecounty.com

    A tax increase.

    Enlarging the size of county government.

    Uncertainty about the county’s economic future.

    All those concerns were expressed during a lengthy discussion commissioners had about a federal grant that would allow the county to hire eight firefighters.

    In the end, the commission showed by its actions that they believe the grant is the right way for the county to go. The resolution passed 14-0 Monday night with Commissioner Fred Tedder absent.

  • ‘Unprecedented’ meeting held on Kingston traffic backups

    By TERRI LIKENS

    tlikens@roanecounty.com

    Easy interstate access and lakefront living are the kind of things some communities only dream of.

    But for Kingston, these realities also have contributed to a problem that recently prompted an unprecedented meeting with state officials.

    An area choked between the waterfront and Interstate 40 is feeling another squeeze — a serious bottleneck on Hwy. 70 between the Clinch River bridge and the Kentucky Street intersection.