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Local News

  • County adopts monthly expense reporting

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    rclawrence@bellsouth.net

    County employees must now submit claims for travel expenses within 30 days or lose the opportunity to get reimbursed.

    The mandate comes after the Roane County Commission voted unanimously to amend the county’s policy last week.

    “Claims for reimbursement of travel expenses submitted after 30 days of the date of completion of the travel will not be paid,” the resolution states.

  • DA says inmate's death was suicide

    By JUDY UNDERWOOD

    Morgan County News Editor

    An investigation into the May 28th death of an inmate at the Morgan County Jail has been concluded.

    Ninth District Attorney General Russell Johnson issued a statement on Monday that the death of Robert Stoll has been determined to have been suicide.

    Johnson said Stoll apparently used a string from his hooded sweatshirt to hang himself from the cell door closure arm.

  • Riding on the 'New River Train'

    By JEAN POLLARD

    Morgan County News

    What better way to spend a summer afternoon than to drive a few miles, board a real train and take a wonderful ride through the beautiful mountains and relax and enjoy the scenery?

    This past Saturday I had the privilege to do just that. I had been asked by a member of the New River Scenic Railway to 'dig up' some information on the New River area with stories of the communities and those who had once lived along the river and the railroad tracks.

  • Davidson gets plea deal -- again

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    rclawrence@bellsouth.net

    Opening statements were never made in Howard Davidson's first-degree murder trial. The trial never got that far because prosecutors reached a settlement with Davidson when court was in recess for lunch on Wednesday.

    Davidson pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in exchange for a 10-year prison sentence. He could have been sentenced to as much as life had he been convicted of first-degree murder.

    “Very,” Davidson attorney Michael Ritter said, when asked was he pleased with the deal.

  • 'Video' murder trial set to begin

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    rclawrence@bellsouth.net

    The first-degree murder trial of Howard Davidson is scheduled to begin today, Sept. 17, at the Roane County Courthouse.

    Special Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood will be presiding. Davidson is accused of shooting Michael Fair to death in May 2005.

    The trial could last three days.

    Criminal defense attorney Patrick Cooley is serving as a special prosecutor in the case.

  • How will hopefuls handle positions?

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    rclawrence@bellsouth.net

    Commissioner James Harmon still wants the Roane County Commission to have the power to eliminate the office of constable.

    He repeated his position during last week’s commission meeting.

    “It doesn’t mean that we would vote to do away with constables, but our authority as a county commission has been disenfranchised,” Harmon said.

  • Who likes Ike? Motorists don't

    By CINDY SIMPSON

    rccindysimpson@bellsouth.net

    Cars lined up and packed gas station and convenience store parking lots in Roane County Thursday evening and Friday morning.

    Frantic drivers queued to fill up in fear of dwindling gas supplies due to the oncoming Hurricane Ike.

    Gas prices often rose while drivers waited for their turns at the pump — if there was any gas at all.

    “We’ve got only premium gas left,” Kingston Raceway operator Jay Patel said around noon on Friday.

  • ACLU takes on student athlete drug testing

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    rclawrence@bellsouth.net

    David Higgins expressed his dismay with the county school system’s drug testing policy for athletes last month.

    Now the ACLU is expressing its dismay with the threat of legal action.

    “These unsubstantiated searches make a mockery of the civics lessons taught in our classrooms, and should be roundly and readily rejected by parents and school officials alike,” Hedy Weinberg, executive director of ACLU of Tennessee, said in a news release on Wednesday.

  • Long-sought Swan Pond water contract signed and sealed

    By JENNIFER RAYMOND

    rcraymond@bellsouth.net

    The city of Kingston has officially relinquished its hold on Swan Pond Road water customers who are trying to get pressurized municipal water.

    “We’ve got to get these people some water,” Councilman Kevin McClure said at the city council meeting Tuesday.

    The council had agreed to turn over its water customers on Swan Pond Road to Roane Central Utility District at last month’s meeting and sent a contract regarding the agreement.

  • Patton lawsuit prompts formal action on resignations

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    rclawrence@bellsouth.net

    The ramifications from the Mark Patton case were evident at Monday night’s county commission meeting.

    When it came time to accept the resignation of Harriman Mayor Chris Mason from the Roane County Industrial Development Board, the commission didn’t simply acquiesce like it has in the past.

    Commissioner James Harmon made a formal motion to accept the resignation, and the commission voted unanimously by voice vote.

    Patton was elected as a constable in August 2006.