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Local News

  • 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.

  • Rockwood relaxes liquor laws

    By CINDY SIMPSON

    csimpson@roanecounty.com

    What can sometimes be a hot-button issue wasn’t for the Rockwood City Council, who last week approved lifting distance requirements for establishments selling alcohol.

    The council approved on second reading an ordinance that removes the 100-foot distance requirement from churches and schools if the property is commercially zoned at C-1 and C-2.

    The ordinance also removes the limit of six on-premises consumption permits for the community.

  • 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.