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Local News

  • UPDATE: Residents seek answers after oil-well fire

    By CINDY SIMPSON

    rccindysimpson@bellsouth.net

    An out-of-control oil well that spewed crude and natural gas all afternoon and night Tuesday exploded before dawn Wednesday, seriously burning a man who was driving by.

    Oliver Springs residents of Cove Lane in Anderson County, which lies near the Roane and Morgan county lines, have been evacuated and may be out of their homes for several days.

    Many are angry and looking for answers about why the situation was allowed to escalate.

    Officials say the fire could take days to get under control.

  • Harriman vs. Kingston annexation hearing set

    By CINDY SIMPSON

    rccindysimpson@bellsouth.net

    A hearing on Harriman’s lawsuit to void Kingston’s annexation referendum is scheduled June 10.

    The lawsuit, filed by Harriman in February, would put a stop Kingston’s annexation property just west of the Hwy. 70 bridge — if Harriman is successful.

    Harriman officials contend that its annexation proceedings to annex all the way from its current city limits take precedent over the activities of Kingston.

  • Contractor Integrity Card; another safeguard for our older citizens

    Morgan County Executive, Becky Ruppe visited the Sunbright Senior Citizens to talk about adding a new idea to Morgan County's Elder Watch Program.

    Ruppe along with Gigi Schooler, Morgan County's Chamber Director plan to visit all the centers if possible to explain how the program can help.

  • Easter events set for Saturday

    By JUDY UNDERWOOD

    Morgan County News Editor

    Members of the Morgan County Chamber of Commerce are anxious to host activities that will bring more visitors to the county and provide activities for local residents.

    With that in mind Chamber Director Gigi Schooler has planned the Chamber's first breakfast with the Easter Bunny for Saturday, March 22. The breakfast will be held at the courthouse from 8 a.m. until 10 a.m.

  • Library access ramping up at Harriman's Carnegie

    By CINDY SIMPSON

    rccindysimpson@bellsouth.net

    Access for the disabled is closer to a reality for people wanting to visit the Harriman Public Library.

    Harriman city coordinator Bob Tidwell has begun advertising for bids for the project, which involves grant money the city received in 2005 for improvements to the library and for crosswalk installments in the downtown area.

    Tidwell said the grant is more than $130,000, with a city matching portion of several thousand dollars more.

  • Born in China, Victoria now has a home in Harriman

    By CINDY SIMPSON

    rccindysimpson@bellsouth.net

    Happy squeals fill the Whaley home on Clinton Street in Harriman.

    Baby Victoria Leighanna Xiang Whaley, known as Tori, joyfully explores the world she has been welcomed into by adoptive parents, Cindy and Chris Whaley and her 8-year-old brother, Jonathan.

    She is the newest addition to the Whaley clan, who, after a lengthy adoption process, were able to bring her home from China in January, around her first birthday.

  • Hotel/motel tax gets a nod

    By JENNIFER RAYMOND

    rcraymond@bellsouth.net

    A decision to implement a 5 percent hotel/motel occupancy tax in the city of Kingston is moving forward.

    Kingston City Council voted 4-1 in favor of implementing the tax, with Councilman Brant Williams opposing.

    “This will adversely affect businesses,” Williams said.

    The tax increase would mean that guests who stay in one of the city’s four hotels would be paying a total of 19.5 percent in taxes.

    This includes the state tax, the county tax and the new city tax.

  • Runaway car hits man

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    rclawrence@bellsouth.net

    A Roane County man was run over after he tried to stop a car carrying three children from rolling down a hill.

    The incident happened on Wednesday around 7 p.m. on Watson Lane, according to Roane County Sheriff’s Office investigator Greg Scalf.

    Scalf said three children ranging in ages from 7 to 8 were in a car when it was knocked out of gear and started rolling down a hill.

    Steven Mead reportedly tried to stop the car from rolling and was run over.

  • Grant 'effectively doubles' department

    By JENNIFER RAYMOND

    rcraymond@bellsouth.net

    The Kingston Fire Department got the go-ahead to hire six much-needed additional firefighters by the city council Tuesday.

    The fire department will be able to afford the six, thanks to a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emer-gency Response grant for $592,635 from the Department of Homeland Security.

    “We’re pretty much doubling our department,” Lt. Eddie Lintz said.

  • IT'S OFFICIAL: Covenant to take over Roane Medical Center

    By CINDY SIMPSON

    rccindysimpson@bellsouth.net

    A full house of Roane Medical Center employees breathed a sigh of relief and applauded following Tuesday's unanimous Harriman City Council vote to go forward with a lease purchase agreement with Covenant Health System.

    "We have ensured the longtime quality of healthcare for the citizens of Harriman and also citizens of Roane County," Harriman Mayor Chris Mason said.