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Local News

  • Roane's interest in loan waning

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    dlawrence@roanecounty.com

    As a consultant with the County Technical Assistance Service, Ron Woody said he teaches classes on debt management across the state.

    He said that’s one of the reasons why he was embarrassed to learn Roane County was considering taking out a $45 million loan against $32 million in TVA funds.  

    “I lost too much sleep over this,” said Woody, who lives on River Road. “Here was my home county fixing to do probably one of the worst decisions that has been done across the state.”

  • Offense report in Houston verbal exchange

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    dlawrence@roanecounty.com

    Sheriff’s Deputy Guy McGuckin testified he referred to Rocky Houston as a son of a (expletive) the day Houston was involved in a shootout with Sheriff’s Deputy Bill Jones and his ride-along friend Mike Brown.

    The derogatory comment apparently didn’t sit well with Leon Houston, Rocky’s older brother, according to a Roane County Sheriff’s Office offense report dated Nov. 6.

  • Appeals court considers Houston double-jeopardy argument

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    dlawrence@roanecounty.com

    Judge James “Buddy” Scott erred in how he handled the jury in Rocky Houston’s murder trial. On that, defense attorney Randy Rogers and state’s attorney John Bledsoe agree.

    The lawyers disagree on what that means for Houston.

    Rogers and Bledsoe argued their positions before a three-judge panel of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals on Tuesday in Knoxville.

    “What the judge did should never be done in a criminal trial in this state,” Bledsoe said.

  • Hampton asks to withdraw guilty plea

    By CINDY SIMPSON

    csimpson@roanecounty.com

    In a handwritten motion, an accused drug dealer has asked to withdraw his guilty plea on federal charges.

    Daniel Hampton was arrested in 2007 on multiple charges, including conspiring to distribute 5 or more kilograms of a substance containing cocaine hydrochloride, 50 grams or more of cocaine base, or crack, 100 kilograms or more marijuana and the prescription painkiller Oxycontin. He entered a guilty plea to those charges in late April.

  • Judge rejects Hyatte's attempt to withdraw guilty plea

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    dlawrence@roanecounty.com

    George Hyatte’s attempt to withdraw the guilty plea that assures him a life sentence without the possibility of parole was unsuccessful.

    Assistant District Attorney General Frank Harvey said Criminal Court Judge E. Eugene Eblen denied Hyatte’s motion to withdraw during a hearing Monday morning in Meigs County.

    Harvey said Eblen did grant Hyatte’s motion to appeal his conviction.

  • Rockwood takes another look at utility manager complaints

    By CHERYL DUNCAN

    cduncan@roanecounty.com

    Rockwood Water, Sewer and Gas general manager Rod King received a vote of confidence on Nov. 10 when the board governing the utilities decided against reprimanding him for complaints leveled by a Rockwood couple last month.

    Those complaints and other allegations dominated discussions during the board’s regular meeting Monday. Jim and Rose Hines took up board member James Nuckols on his offer to address a taped one-sided conversation King said was between him and Jim Hines and initiated the matter.

  • Harriman redevelopment area comes with caveat

    By CINDY SIMPSON

    csimpson@roanecounty.com

    Several blocks of downtown Harriman will be the focal point of a redevelopment effort that may not make everyone happy.

    The Harriman Economic Development Board has recommended the city focus on blocks primarily between Morgan Avenue and Crescent Street along Roane Street.

    Also included is a block bordered by Walden Street, Clinton Avenue and Morgan Avenue.

    The city will be working with the Harriman Housing Authority to put measures in place to begin improving the city’s image.

  • Rockwood revisits bonus issue

    By CHERYL DUNCAN

    cduncan@roanecounty.com

    Rockwood city employees are each in line to receive their traditional $125 Christmas bonus.

    Some city officials, however, think the gift should be increased — and they were willing to put that to a vote on Monday.

    “It’s a hard time right now, and it’s a hard time for the council, too,” Rockwood City Council member Bill Thompson said. “I think we can scratch it up.”

  • Property assessor reissues warning

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    dlawrence@roanecounty.com

    A deep recession, slumping housing market and an environmental disaster of national proportions.

    In spite of those factors, Roane County Property Assessor Teresa Kirkham said home values have increased in the area surrounding TVA’s Kingston Fossil Plant.    

  • Teflon attorney shakes off scuffle charges

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    dlawrence@roanecounty.com

    Call it a string of good luck, or call it being on the right side of the law.

    Whatever it is, attorney Chris Cawood continues to notch legal victories against people who bring charges against him.

    The latest Teflon display came Wednesday during a bench trial for resisting arrest. Special Judge Larry Warner found Cawood not guilty.

    “He listened to the evidence and there just wasn’t anything there to substantiate the charge,” Cawood said.