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Local News

  • County pumping money in 'little white house'

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    dlawrence@roanecounty.com

    Roane County Commissioner Ron Berry said his mother always told him to run when something is confusing.

    He ran away loudly during the Jan. 11 county commission meeting.

    Not enough of his colleagues ran with him to vote down a resolution that earmarks funds to renovate a white house adjacent to the new jail.

    The commission voted 11-4 to take $332,000 out of fund balance to “complete the jail, the (white) house on the corner of Third and Spring streets and the communication tower.”

  • Spit, fire bring Houstons back to court

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    dlawrence@roanecounty.com

    Brothers Rocky and Leon Houston were back in court Monday, each with separate cases pending before Judge Jeff Wicks in General Sessions Court.

    Officers charged Rocky with assault after he allegedly spit on them during a scuffle in October 2008.

    “Are you here representing yourself, Mr. Houston, or are you going to need an attorney?” Wicks asked.

  • Houston vehicle chase case goes on a few tangents

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    dlawrence@roanecounty.com

    A brief hearing about a charge of disorderly conduct and assault against Leon Houston had just wrapped up Tuesday afternoon when deputies escorted Rocky Houston into the courtroom to deal with another matter.

    Leon and his attorney James Logan had business to discuss, but his younger brother told him it could wait.

    “Where you going?” Rocky asked.

    “He’s (Logan) wanting to talk,” Leon responded.  

  • Landfill clears another hurdle

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    dlawrence@roanecounty.com

    Members of Roane County Commission’s solid waste committee don’t yet know the economic impact of allowing TVA to store fly ash in a Midtown landfill.

    They want to find out, however.

    The committee voted unanimously on Friday to recommend that County Executive Mike Farmer and County Attorney Tom McFarland enter into negotiations with TVA to study the cost and benefits of allowing fly ash to be dumped in the landfill.

  • Ash committe miffed on late notice of health study

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    dlawrence@roanecounty.com

    TVA informed a congressional subcommittee recently that it plans to contract with Oak Ridge Associated Universities to address the health concerns of local residents.

    Members of Roane County’s long term recovery committee were irked because they didn’t know about those plans.

    “We thought that we might find out maybe ahead of the game,” County Executive Mike Farmer told TVA officials Wednesday.

  • AG opinion may boost election chief

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    dlawrence@roanecounty.com

    Will he stay or will he go?

    That’s a question swirling around Roane County Administrator of Elections Tony Brown.

    Some think Brown, who said he’s voted in Democrat primaries for years, will go because of a newly appointed Republican majority to the five-member Roane County Election Commission.

    However, ousting Brown because of party affiliation might be against the law.

    That’s the opinion of  Tennessee Attorney General Robert E. Cooper.

  • Jail hire request substantially reduced

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    dlawrence@roanecounty.com

    Eight full time and four part time.

    Roane County Sheriff Jack Stockton said that’s how many additional employees he thinks it might take to operate the county’s new jail.  

    “We’ve done assessments, walkthroughs and looked at every angle about making the housing pod safe for the inmates and also the officers,” Stockton said. “That would probably be a minimum number that we would need to make it safe.”

  • EPA noted ash radiation concerns

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    dlawrence@roanecounty.com

    Three weeks after the disaster at TVA’s Kingston Fossil Plant, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency handed over the job of lead federal agency to TVA.

    The EPA-to-TVA transition came just days after an EPA on-scene coordinator expressed concerns about a radiation report that was generated during the agency’s response to the disaster.       

    How significant those concerns may be has yet to be established.

  • Lawyers add plaintiffs in ash spill lawsuit

    BY JENNIFER RAYMONDee

    jraymond@roanecounty.com

    Seven lawsuits against TVA have been filed in the nearly four months since the rupture of an ash pond at the Kingston Fossil Plant that released 5.4 million cubic yards of the ash into the surrounding rivers and across land.

    One lawsuit in particular has doubled in plaintiffs since it was filed on Feb. 18.

    Robin Greenwald, an attorney with Weitz and Luxenberg, said the original 108 plaintiffs have grown to more than 200.

  • Neighbors protest Dogwood Music Festival

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    dlawrence@roanecounty.com

    Alan Gordon left the courthouse Wednesday night wondering what’s the use of paying county taxes.

    Sally Rhynehart left wondering if she'll wake up one morning with a Woodstock party going on in her neighborhood.

    Joey Jaccard departed the building with unanimous approval to hold an arts and music festival off of Dogwood Valley Road.

    Gordon, Rhynehart and two other area residents spoke against Jaccard receiving a special-use permit to hold the festival.