Local News

  • Drug arrests linked to deaths

    Twenty Roane Countians were arrested as part of a multi-county round-up after a federal grand jury in Knoxville returned an indictment charging all with oxycodone trafficking and money laundering conspiracies.

    In some cases, those charged may face life in prison or 20 years to life because deaths tied to oxycodone use may be connected to the drug trafficking charges, said a release from U.S. Attorney General’s Office Eastern District of Tennessee.

  • Looseleaf Laureate: Foundation of friends invaluable

    I’ve been through a rough patch lately.
    I wrote openly about my now-dismissed legal situation, and about running over my cat Pony (the splint should be coming off soon). I also had some bumps in my love life, but we are in a better place now.
    This column isn’t about those situations, but about the people who have helped me find my way through.
    I am blessed with one of the strongest networks of friends a person could have.

  • Protective custody for starvation couple

    Matthew and Amanda Dotson, the parents accused of starving their 2-year-old son to death, are being held in protective custody at the Roane County Jail.
    Sheriff Jack Stockton said the situation was out of concern that they might be harmed by other inmates. 
    “It’s our job to protect them,” he said. 
    The Dotsons were booked into the Roane County Jail late Tuesday.
    They were indicted by the Roane County grand jury this week for first-degree murder in the death of their son.

  • Cuts still threat to school budget

    The Roane County Budget Committee voted 3-0 to recommend the 2012-13 school budget to the County Commission, but school officials may want to continue following the situation until the budget process comes to a close.
    After the unanimous vote and after Director of Schools Toni McGriff and school business manager Eric Harbin left the June 14 meeting at the courthouse, the committee continued to scrutinize the school budget.
    Commissioner Steve Kelley even indicated he might propose a change to the $69.4 million plan before it goes to the county commission for a vote.

  • Principal named for Dyllis Springs Elementary School

    Outgoing Roane County Director of Schools Toni McGriff said Gwen Johnson will be the first principal of the new Dyllis Springs Elementary School.
    Johnson had been serving as the principal of Oliver Springs Elementary School.
    McGriff said Kendra Inman, who had been principal at Dyllis Elementary School, will be the assistant principal at the new school.
    Dyllis Elementary closed after the 2011-12 school year.
    The new school, which was part of the system’s $32 million building program, is scheduled to open for the 2012-13 school year.

  • Harriman area farmers market gets recognized

    Pick Tennessee Products tour will come to the Harriman Farmers Market on Wednesday, June 27.
    Pamela Bartholomew, agritourism and farmers markets coordinator for the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, announced that Harriman will host one of the tour stops that stretch across the state.
    “There will be free recipe cards and a drawing for a Pick Tennessee Products basket filled with more than $150 worth of delicious products,” said a release from Bartholomew.

  • Behind the fireworks: July 4th year-round event for Kingston parks crew

    For Kingston parks and recreation director Rick Ross and his crew, the July 4 holiday begins on July 6.
    July 6 of the preceding year, that is.
    Once the curtain dropped and the din faded on Independence Day 2011, Ross and his staff set out in earnest planning this year’s celebration.
    “We’re always tweaking,” Ross said.
    “How can we make little improvements? More parking? Can we put pesticides in the places where people sit?”

  • Tea Party forum to feature Mayfield

    Congressional candidate Scottie Mayfield is scheduled to speak to the Roane County Tea Party on Thursday at the Kingston Community Center.
    Tea Party media director Chuck Smith said questions will be allowed.
    “The (Tea Party) board is going to ask questions first,” Smith said. “They’re going to be drawn from a hat of questions that we have pre-written.”

  • Child starvation, Morris murder among indictments

    Several people are facing murder charges following this week’s meeting of the Roane County grand jury.
    District Attorney General Russell Johnson said Shawn Smoot was indicted for first-degree murder in the death of Brooke Morris.
    Her body was found at Blair Road and Old Blair Road last October. Morris, 23, was shot to death.
    Authorities quickly named Smoot, a Knoxville insurance agent, as a person of interest.
    Sheriff Jack Stockton said authorities took their time in the investigation to make sure “we cover all our bases.”

  • Rocky Houston no-show for grand jury

    Judicial officials planned to allow Rocky Houston to present evidence on his conspiracy and corruption theories to the Roane County grand jury on Tuesday, but he was a no-show for his morning appointment at the courthouse.
    Rocky and his brother, Leon Houston, have long complained about conspiracies and corruption that supposedly involved officials in Kingston, Nashville and even Washington, D.C.
    Both Houstons were accused in 2006 of killing a Roane County deputy and his friend outside Leon’s home, but neither was convicted.