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Local News

  • County jail back to certified status

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    dlawrence@roanecounty.com

    Roane County lost its jail certification two years ago. The county got it back last week.

    The Tennessee Corrections Institute Board of Control met Dec. 2 in Nashville and voted to certify the new jail, according to TCI Assistant Director Peggy Sawyer.

    “Great,” Roane County Sheriff Jack Stockton said.

  • S. Roane VFD hits hard times

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    dlawrence@roanecounty.com

    Roy Brandon, president of the South Roane County Volunteer Fire Department, said he’s witnessed more than a few financial storms during his time. 

    “I’ve been at it since ’76, so I’ve seen plenty of ups and downs,” Brandon said.

    Now would be one of those down times for South Roane County.

    In an effort to make ends meet, Brandon said, the department is planning to cut about five vehicles from its fleet.

  • Sweet deal possible on Princess

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    dlawrence@roanecounty.com

    The Princess Theater is set to receive a $1.7 million facelift courtesy of TVA.

    Gary Baker could take ownership of the building for far less than that once the renovations are complete.

    His 99-year lease with the city of Harriman gives him the option to buy the Princess. The most he would have to pay — $100,000.

    Harriman Mayor Chris Mason said he’s not concerned about Baker exercising his purchase option once the building is spruced up with the TVA money.

  • Roane couple falls prey to horse thief

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    dlawrence@roanecounty.com

    Mike Gough and his wife have eight horses.

    One in particular — a male quarter horse name Cisco — holds a special place in the couple’s hearts.

    “I bought him as a Christmas gift for my wife three years ago,” Gough said.  “Out of all the horses we got, he was the one that we would hate to get gone the worst.”

    Gough said that’s exactly what happened last month. He said he went to the pasture to check on his horses and Cisco was gone.

  • Cameras go up in downtown Rockwood

    By CHERYL DUNCAN

    cduncan@roanecounty.com

    Say cheese!

    Rockwood’s downtown area has been vexed by burglaries recently.

    City officials hope installing cameras along West Rockwood Street will deter crime.

    Tentative plans are for four cameras that have been priced at about $3,000 total, but officials are still looking for a better deal, said Rockwood City Recorder Jim Hines.

    Mayor James Watts told Rockwood City Council members during a November workshop that he hoped to have a workable system soon.

  • Sexual predator nabbed

    By CINDY SIMPSON

    csimpson@roanecounty.com

    A sex offender who moved into the area from Indiana is believed to use church services to plot opportunities to meet young victims.

    His undoing may have been his propensity to document his plans.

    Gregory Cramer, 58, was arrested and charged with failure to register as a sexual offender in Tennessee and sexual solicitation of a minor.

    On Oct. 30, Harriman Police Karen Joseph was notified by Indiana detectives that Cramer had fled Indiana and may have moved into the area.

  • Roane's interest in loan waning

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    dlawrence@roanecounty.com

    As a consultant with the County Technical Assistance Service, Ron Woody said he teaches classes on debt management across the state.

    He said that’s one of the reasons why he was embarrassed to learn Roane County was considering taking out a $45 million loan against $32 million in TVA funds.  

    “I lost too much sleep over this,” said Woody, who lives on River Road. “Here was my home county fixing to do probably one of the worst decisions that has been done across the state.”

  • Offense report in Houston verbal exchange

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    dlawrence@roanecounty.com

    Sheriff’s Deputy Guy McGuckin testified he referred to Rocky Houston as a son of a (expletive) the day Houston was involved in a shootout with Sheriff’s Deputy Bill Jones and his ride-along friend Mike Brown.

    The derogatory comment apparently didn’t sit well with Leon Houston, Rocky’s older brother, according to a Roane County Sheriff’s Office offense report dated Nov. 6.

  • Appeals court considers Houston double-jeopardy argument

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    dlawrence@roanecounty.com

    Judge James “Buddy” Scott erred in how he handled the jury in Rocky Houston’s murder trial. On that, defense attorney Randy Rogers and state’s attorney John Bledsoe agree.

    The lawyers disagree on what that means for Houston.

    Rogers and Bledsoe argued their positions before a three-judge panel of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals on Tuesday in Knoxville.

    “What the judge did should never be done in a criminal trial in this state,” Bledsoe said.

  • Hampton asks to withdraw guilty plea

    By CINDY SIMPSON

    csimpson@roanecounty.com

    In a handwritten motion, an accused drug dealer has asked to withdraw his guilty plea on federal charges.

    Daniel Hampton was arrested in 2007 on multiple charges, including conspiring to distribute 5 or more kilograms of a substance containing cocaine hydrochloride, 50 grams or more of cocaine base, or crack, 100 kilograms or more marijuana and the prescription painkiller Oxycontin. He entered a guilty plea to those charges in late April.