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Local News

  • Roane County -- the next Three Mile Island?

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    dlawrence@roanecounty.com

    Roane County Executive Mike Farmer said perception — not reality — is one of the biggest obstacles to a full recovery from the TVA ash spill.

    If one of the worst environmental disasters in American history is any indication, Roane County could be rehabbing its image for decades.

    “I think this has the potential to be the coal industry’s Three Mile Island,” Farmer said.

  • Constable ouster suit set

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    dlawrence@roanecounty.com

    It could take years before criminal charges against constable Mark Patton get resolved.

    However, the suit to oust him from office may not take that long.

    Circuit Court Judge Russell Simmons Jr. has scheduled the ouster case for trial May 19-21.

    A jury of 14 will be seated to hear the trial.

    “I was very pleased that judge Simmons gave us an early court date,” Roane County Attorney Tom McFarland said.

  • Making martyr of activist hurts our reputation

    EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is opinion. We have posted it where we usually post news because we are disturbed by an escalating series of events recently involving the TVA ash spill and an activist working in the Swan Pond area.

    At a time when a reasoned touch has been called for, both TVA and local authorities have chosen a more ham-fisted approach.

    Our community's reputation could pay the price.

  • Fatality on I-40 near Exit 350

    By David Doonan

    ddoonan@roanecounty.com

    Police and emergency personnel were called early Monday morning to a fatal automobile accident on Interstate 40 westbound before exit 350.

  • George Hyatte pleads guilty to murder

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    dlawrence@roanecounty.com

    George Hyatte, the former Brushy Mountain prisoner at the center of an August 2005 shootout at the Roane County Courthouse, pleaded guilty Monday to first-degree murder for his role in the death of corrections officer Wayne "Cotton" Morgan. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

  • County wants to haul ash to Midtown

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    dlawrence@roanecounty.com

    The 5.4 million cubic yards of fly ash that spilled from TVA’s Kingston Fossil Plant may never leave Roane County — even if TVA does decide to move it.

    County officials are considering reopening a Midtown landfill and charging TVA to dump the ash there.

  • Roane County sex offender charged with killing woman

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    dlawrence@roanecounty.com

    A registered sex offender is in custody at the Roane County Jail after he allegedly killed a woman at his home Tuesday night. Authorities charged Lonnie Lee White of 130 Kerns Lane, off of Lawnville Road, east of Kingston, with reckless homicide.   

  • Houston brothers headed home

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    dlawrence@roanecounty.com

    After being fitted with monitoring devices on Thursday afternoon, Rocky and Leon Houston are on their way home.

    “Tomorrow they're going to be sick as dogs because they're eating real food," said the brothers' sister, Lisa Burris, upon their release on bond after three years in jail on murder charges.

    The brothers were thankful as they paused outside Roane County Jail for a moment before being ushered home.

  • Going home: Houstons thank God, families upon jail release

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    dlawrence@roanecounty.com

    The sound of clanking shackles were replaced by terms of endearment. 

    “I love you,” Rocky Houston said to his wife, Nancy, moments after he walked freely out of the Roane County Jail.

    After nearly three years behind bars on murder charges, Rocky and his older brother, Leon, returned to their South of the River community on Thursday after being released on bond.

  • 'We just ain't goin' to put up with it'

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    dlawrence@roanecounty.com

    Residents plan to put up a fight if officials move forward with plans to use a Midtown landfill as a dumping ground for the fly ash that spilled from TVA’s Kingston Fossil Plant.

    That was the overwhelming consensus of the people who spoke at Thursday night’s meeting of Roane County Commission’s solid waste committee.

    “You will never have a dump in our community,” Mary Helen Nichols said. “Take it some place else.”