Local News

  • Women jail numbers a problem for Roane

    The Tennessee Corrections Institute conducted its reinspection of the Roane County Jail on Aug. 7.

    Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Tim Phillips said he believes it went well.

    The exit interview report said, “no deficiencies other than square footage and toilet ratios in female housing.”

    Phillips said that’s because of female overcrowding. The jail is certified to hold 32, but had 49 in custody on Aug. 7.

  • School board prepares for director search

    The timeframe for finding a new director of schools could be similar to the one the Roane County Board of Education followed in 2012, which was the last time the job was open.

    “I would say the process will probably begin in January or February,” Chairman Mike “Brillo” Miller said. “Somewhere in that timeframe.”

    Director of Schools Gary Aytes said this will be his last year in the position. The board hired Aytes in 2012 to replace Toni McGriff, who retired.

  • Ballfield improvements begin in Harriman, more work to follow

    Slowly but surely, the new fencing at Harriman’s ballfields is going up.

    The fences, paid for with the last of TVA funds given to communities after the Dec. 22, 2008, coal ash spill at Kingston Fossil Plant, are just one of a number of public-image projects Harriman aims to complete with funds.

    “The money should be here anytime,” Mayor Chris Mason recently told council members.

    The city went ahead with the fencing work prior to receiving those funds.

  • Comments sought on plan to charge to look at public records

    The Office of Open Records Counsel has been asked by the Tennessee General Assembly to review issues surrounding the inspection of public records, and the office is asking Tennesseans to weigh in.

    Legislation was introduced in the 2015 Session of the 109th General Assembly that would permit charges for inspecting public records. While a records custodian is permitted to charge for copies of public records, inspection is generally free of charge.

    The OORC will prepare a report with recommendations on this issue to the General Assembly by Jan. 15, 2016.

  • Rockwood employees should see $1,000 Christmas bonus

    Rockwood City Council approved the second and final reading of its budget this week.

    Mayor Mike “Brillo” Miller proposed keeping the current $1 property tax rate per $100 valuation.

    The certified rate recently came back and is 99.2 cents. While the City Council approved budget appropriations, they’ll come back and address the tax rate at a future meeting.

    Officials liked the projects Miller put in the budget. They also appreciated a $1,000 bonus employees are supposed to get around the Christmas holiday this year.

  • Wayne "Cotton" Morgan remembered
  • GUEST OPINION: This time was supposed to be different


    Center on Congress

    Congress is approaching adjournment with no serious talks to make mutually acceptable headway on the budget. This is no way to do business.

    The most important function Congress serves is to debate and pass the federal budget. I know — it also levies taxes, imposes or relaxes regulations, and once in a while nudges our social, economic or political order in a meaningful way. But the budget tells the government what to do and makes it possible to do it. Everything else follows from that.

  • Back-to-school time in Roane County

    Roane County students returned to classes for the 2015-16 school year on Monday.

    “We’re looking forward to a great year,” Kingston Elementary School Principal Sheila Sitzlar said.

    Students in Amanda Burd’s fourth-grade social studies class got to learn about the island, an area of her classroom that includes beach chairs, a faux surf board and orange rug.

    That’s where students get to sit if they do well in class.

  • ‘Worse than we ever imagined’

    State official Jason Mumpower described Roane County Property Assessor David Morgan’s work on the reappraisal as fundamentally flawed earlier this year.

    Mumpower, the chief of staff for the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury, didn’t have nicer things to say about it Monday, either.

    “I don’t know how I can be more straightforward than to tell you that we found the situation much worse than we ever imagined,” he said.

  • Fisherman drowns at Caney Creek

    A fishing outing turned tragic for a Harriman man Saturday evening. Police said 20-year-old Dustin Branson drowned after jumping off the dock at Caney Creek to retrieve a fishing pole.

    “It apparently fell in the water, and then he went in after it and tried to recover it,” Roane County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Tim Phillips said.

    Roane County E-911 received a call about the incident at 9:11 p.m. Help was quickly dispatched to the scene.