Local News

  • Kingston school flooding costly

    Last month’s flooding at Kingston Elementary School proved expensive for the school system.

    Director of Schools Gary Aytes said the cost to redo damaged tiles is around $125,000.

    The bulk of that amount – $100,000 – is being covered by insurance.

    “The insurance company has said they will pay, so we collected $100,000 from insurance to redo the tile in two parts of the Kingston Elementary School,” he said.   

    The work has already started.



    East Tennessee’s most famous crooner was in Rockwood — at least in spirit — Saturday to raise money for student writers’ scholarships and awards. Jeanette Bradley portrays country legend Dolly Parton in Greg Johnson’s Legends show, which highlighted this year’s Roane Writers Group’s Gala. Like her famous counterpart who frequently travels with her best friend, Judy Ogle, Bradley brought along best friend Becky Whaley for the show. The performance also included Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash impersonations.

  • Mother, daughter jailed

    A Kingston woman is accused of setting her 19-year-old daughter’s couch on fire.

    Tracie Lynn Lemons is charged with arson and two counts of reckless endangerment in the incident.

    Kingston police were dispatched to 807 Sturgess St. at 2:15 a.m. on Sept. 18.

    “Lauren (Lemons) told officers that her mother, Tracie Lemons, had broken into the residence and set her couch on fire,” the police report said. “Officers could smell a strong odor of smoke bellowing from the residence.”

  • Time to think about Thanksgiving

    The number of needy families getting their Thanksgiving meals from Hands of Mercy and the Kingston Police Department grows each year.

    It’s that time of year again for the partnership to begin collecting donated food items for the event in earnest.

    This year they have set a goal for 800 families.

    “Last year we wanted to do 750 and wound up doing 800,” Kingston Police Chief Jim Washam said.

    “This year, our goal is 800, but we may do more.”

  • INSIDE the First AMENDMENT by Charles Haynes

    Kim Davis, the now famous county clerk in Rowan County, Kentucky, is out of jail, back to work — and not interfering with the clerks in her office who are processing marriage licenses for same-sex couples.

    Davis, who objects to gay marriage on religious grounds, is apparently satisfied that removing her name and position from the licenses sufficiently guards her freedom of conscience.

    What better way to commemorate Constitution Week than with a good old-fashioned American compromise?

  • Roane man charged in brawl

    A Rockwood man was arrested for an altercation involving a handgun at a East Tennessee State University fraternity last Friday.

    Johnson City Police arrested Gary Taylor, 21, 107 Lilac Lane, Rockwood, and charged him with aggravated assault and possession of a firearm while intoxicated.
    “Shortly after midnight, officers responded to 734 W. Maple St., the Sigma Chi Fraternity, on the report of a disturbance,” a Johnson City Police Department release said.

  • Kudos big for readers

    Ridge View Elementary School students read a lot compared to many schools in the state — and they trump a lot of international schools.

    Ridge View students tackled the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge with gusto, reading  168,451 minutes over the summer and beginning of the school year.

    “This is our third year to do it, but it really took off this year,” said Robin Thompson, the school’s librarian.

    They were fifth in the state and also in the fifth percentile internationally when the competition drew to a close.

  • Harriman’s Curecia Kreis in Miss Tennessee Teen USA

    A Harriman teen is competing in the Miss Tennessee Teen USA 2016 competition at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville.

    Curecia Kreis, 17, will compete on Oct. 8-10.

    “I want to make a difference in someone else’s life, to show them even if you are from a small town anything is possible as long as you set your mind to it,” she said.

    The event is the preliminary for the Miss Teen USA, Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants.

  • Vandals cut electricity, spoil food at concession stand

    The power to the concession stand at Harriman High School was turned off by vandals over Labor Day weekend.

    The concession stand, which is the fundraiser for the Harriman High School Rhapsody in Blue marching band, has been vandalized before, according to officials.

    Roane County Director of Schools Gary Aytes said vandals at one point broke a handle on the door.

    “Maintenance went over there and reinforced the doors,” he said.

  • Fence to go up at Roane Academy

    Omni Visions has agreed to put a perimeter fence around Roane Academy.

    “Apparently, that was the commitment that was made early when this was under consideration, and I felt like we ought to fulfill it,” President and CEO Steve Norris said Friday.

    Omni Visions has a contract with the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services to house Level 3 male juveniles at Roane Academy, which is in the Roane County Industrial Park.