Local News

  • 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.

  • Aytes makes it clear that this is his last year

    Roane County Director of Schools Gary Aytes likes fishing and traveling.

    He should have plenty of time to do that after the 2015-16 school year. Aytes said last week that this is his final year as director.

    “I’m not going to ask for an extension on my contract,” he said.

    Aytes signed a two-year contract when the Board of Education hired him to succeed Toni McGriff in 2012. The two-year extension he got in 2013 ends on June 30, 2016.

  • First day memories
  • Branson funeral service Tuesday night

    Funeral arrangements for Dustin Cole Branson are complete.

    Branson, 20, drowned Saturday night at Caney Creek boat dock.

    Kyker Funeral Home, Harriman, is in charge of services.

    The family will receive friends in Kyker Funeral Home chapel, Harriman, from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday. Funeral services will immediately follow, with the Rev. Jeremy Sexton officiating.

    Burial will be at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 12, at Calvary Cemetery, Kingston.

  • Pizza, pizza— pizza! It’s three times as nice

    Harriman fans of Little Caesars soon won’t have to travel far for a hot-and-ready pie.

    The chain is coming to Roane Street in Harriman and will be in the same building as iPawn, across from the Go Mart before crossing the bridge to go into downtown.

    “We are going to be open by the end of the month,” said Lori Lockhart, a manager and part of the family who owns Little Caesars shops in Kingston and Rockwood.

    “This will be our seventh,” added Rob Lockhart, vice president.

  • ROANE ACADEMY: Facility’s woes affect community

    The incidents at Roane Academy haven’t been good for industrial recruitment.

    “It can’t be seen as a positive,” said Wade Creswell, president and CEO of The Roane Alliance.

    Roane Academy is a treatment facility for male juveniles in the Roane County Industrial Park.

    There have been at least four escapes from the facility since July.

    A group of unruly juveniles also assaulted some of the staff during what police called a takeover attempt last week.

  • No extremely violent youths housed at center, CEO says

    The young residents at Roane Academy have behavioral issues.

    Sometimes, those issues involve delinquency. Other times, they are in custody because of dependent neglect in the home.

    “Typically, you get a lot of drugs and alcohol offenses, that kind of behavior — delinquent behavior, drugs and alcohol,” said Steve Norris, Omni Visions president and CEO.

    Omni Visions is the company that owns Roane Academy.

    Norris said none of the youth at the residential treatment center are suspected of extreme violence.