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Local News

  • Morgan graduations begin Thursday

    By JUDY UNDERWOOD

    Morgan County News

    Members of the Class of 2008 are set to walk across the stage later this week as their high school careers draw to a close.

    There will be a total of 228 graduates receiving a diploma in the county’s four commencement services.

    Following tradition, Coalfield will be the first school in the county to hold its commencement, which is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, May 22. Fifty-three seniors make up the graduating class at Coalfield.

  • Chancellor rules Patton entitled to phone records

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    rclawrence@bellsouth.net

    Phone records and electronic correspondence between public officials is fair game.

    That was the ruling of Chancellor Billy Joe White regarding a request for the production of documents that was filed by Kingston attorney Chris Cawood.

    Cawood represents former constable Mark Patton in his lawsuit against Roane County. All 15 county commissioners, County Executive Mike Farmer and Caleb Strayer, Patton's replacement, are named as defendants in the lawsuit.

  • Early voting moved from courthouse

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    rclawrence@bellsouth.net

    Early voting for the Aug. 7 election will not be held at the Roane County Courthouse.

    Parking is expected to be minimal at the courthouse, and law enforcement officers with automatic weapons are expected to be roaming inside and outside of the building due to the first-degree murder trial of brothers Rocky and Leon Houston.

    For those reasons, the Roane County Election Commission sought other options.

    Early voting is scheduled from July 18 through Aug. 2.

  • Military honors almost 90 years later

    By CINDY SIMPSON

    rccindysimpson@bellsouth.net

    He was a treasured husband and father whose service in the Spanish-American War was revered and cherished by his family.

    Now, Parnick Hayes Johnson has received recognition from others for his war service more than a century ago.

    The Harriman patriarch’s memory was given the full honorary treatment on Friday, as family, friends, veterans with the Roane County Military Memorial Honor Guard and a U.S. Congressman were present to dedicate a plaque at his headstone that spoke of his duty.

  • Rosebud deal withers under opposition

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    rclawrence@bellsouth.net

    Doug McDannel has lived in peace at 920 Skyline Drive for the past six years.

    He knew the quiet life was about to change once word got out of a plan to turn the property into a resort and campground for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.

    “Once I learned it had GLBT attached to it, I expected the cameras to come out,” McDannel said.

  • Alternative-lifestyle lodge deal is off

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    rclawrence@bellsouth.net

    Robert F. Whiteside Jr. may still get to see his property become a church camp for children after all. That's because plans to turn it into an adult resort have been canned.

    The pending sale between Whiteside and Gary Foster for Whiteside's Roane County property is off.

    “It's done,” said Doug McDannel, who works for Whiteside and lives on the property. “They're not coming.”

  • School's diesel budget about on empty now

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    rclawrence@bellsouth.net

    One of the fundamental duties of a school system is getting students to and from school.

    That’s becoming more expensive.

    School buses run on diesel fuel, and the cost for that fuel has increased substantially.

    The Roane County school system was paying $2.33 per gallon for diesel fuel in March 2007.

    This March, the price was $3.28 per gallon, and it can take as much as 100 gallons to fill a school bus.

    The school system is seeking an additional $200,000 for diesel fuel.

  • Sunbright man killed in wreck

    By JUDY UNDERWOOD

    Morgan County News Editor

    A 19-year-old Sunbright man died from injuries he sustained in a one car accident early Sunday morning.

    According to a report filed by Trooper Josh Thorne with the Tennessee Highway Patrol, three young men were traveling north on US Highway 27 at about 3 a.m. Sunday.

    Joshua A. Bell, 18 of Sunbright was driving a 2001 Ford Ranger pickup truck. Passengers in the vehicle were 18 year old Jacob Good of Lancing and Sean Griffith, 19 of Sunbright.

  • Brushy Mountain Prison as a tourist attraction?

    By JUDY UNDERWOOD

    Morgan County News Editor

    Would the historic Brushy Mountain Prison in Petros make a good tourist attraction? Perhaps even a bed and breakfast? Local officials will be giving that question much thought between now the inevitable closing of the prison.

    Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Correction George Little and Commissioner of the Department of Tourist Development Susan Whitaker made the trip to Morgan County last week to meet with members of the Chamber of Commerce.

  • Student says neigh to high gas prices

    By JENNIFER RAYMOND

    rcraymond@bellsouth.net

    This one-man protest march came complete with horse shoes.

    Rockwood High School senior Bradley Walker, fed up with the high price of gas, saddled up his horse, Pumpkin, and rode to school Tuesday.

    “I can’t afford gas,” Walker said. “It’s getting ridiculous.”

    Walker made a sign that read, “Solution to higher gas prices” and slung it over his horse’s side as they made the 4-mile, 45-minute commute to school.